+ Post New Thread
Page 4 of 4 FirstFirst 1234
Results 46 to 60 of 60
IT News Thread, BECTA Technical Specification Working Group in Other News; Some good points there- I look forward to reading the rest David....
  1. #46

    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Corby
    Posts
    1,056
    Thank Post
    12
    Thanked 20 Times in 18 Posts
    Rep Power
    24

    Re: BECTA Technical Specification Working Group

    Some good points there- I look forward to reading the rest David.

  2. #47
    DMcCoy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Isle of Wight
    Posts
    3,466
    Thank Post
    10
    Thanked 496 Times in 436 Posts
    Rep Power
    113

    Re: BECTA Technical Specification Working Group

    Thoughts continued.....

    Implementation of ICT security etc: I did look at getting hold of a copy of BS 7799 but it appears that you need to pay someone lots of money for one :P

    Seems I'd better write a security policy then! And some procedures, but there is a template to help in the appendix, good.

    Physical security is difficult in a school due to the way rooms are used, it tends to be more damage to equipment that is the main issue, although laptops have a habbit of dissapearing - mostly because they are left all over the building

    Sensitive data is sometimes left unattended or unsecured, but not by me. Teachers are given more restricitve accounts becasue they love to leave themselves logged in and wander off. I have the admin machines lock when the screensaver comes on, there is little more I could do except not let anyone use anything or stand behind them when they work!

    Resource Management: Shalls for recording license KEYS for every device? They're having a laugh? Tens of keys and hundreds of computers and version numbers too? I'm quite happy to keep an eye on total usage and make sure its within the license agreement but thats going rather too far. Software patches and security patches on *INDIVIDUAL* machines? They can *shall* this all they want, I'm not doing it.

    Redundancy. Fair enough, but this is much more difficult for servers and network equipment. Transparently and immediatly transfered to the failover hardware? and in what mystical world is this supposed to happen. If I can't afford to run the machines and servers I do own I can hardly start to run clustered servers can I? I have a san box, if it dies everything dies. I have a blade center attached to it, if this dies everything dies. I can't have a live redundant copy of the san, it would cost at least 30k, perhaps another 40k for the servers! They are full of as much redundancy as possible, ups, psu, lan, hba, san storage processor are all redundant and hot failover but sometimes hardware or software faults will take down an entire system. If it dies, people will simply have to wait until it is fixed.

    User IDs. I don't see how you can protect your users ids, passwords yes, user ids no. The only way would be to use a random system for producing user Ids. I'm sure most of us here use a set of rules to produce IDs so they are therefore easily guessed.

    Should use use lowercase and capitals? Have these people ever worked with children? Its bad enough waiting for the pause when you ask them their name let alone their user number, how on earth will they cope with complex passwords. They do however have to change them every 30 days.

    My passwords are secured in my office, I use them often. Keeping them locked away in a sealed envelope is a slightly rose tinted view of how to keep them. I will be moving them to a password safe application in the near future. I must be nearing 100 seperate passwords for various devices and applications by now!

    Backup: Daily media should be stored in a fireproof safe? Um, no its going to stay in the tape library with all the other tapes. All weekly tapes are exported/imported every week and are held off site. If the school burns down then there is more to worry about than 4 days worth of data. I wonder how we are supposed to allow the students to do everything they might need to do for thier work, particularily audio and viedo work if there is no where to store this data or back it up to removable media in a sensible amount of time and for example tapes.

    My users get 100MB for years 9-11 and 200MB for 12-13. This is increased if the user has a real need for more, but not usually beyond 500MB. Staff aren't limited (yet!). If I want more than this then its not going to fit on a single lto2 tape, which starts to make life complicated for backups and restores. The users have a seperate 1GB on the Mac server as it has an lto3 drive.

    If I were to increase these limits that much then I will need additional disk enclosures for my san box and a larger enterprise backup system. I'm not overly fond of disk backups, 400GB still being the same size as an lto3 tape uncompressed. I would guess that about 20% of the 400k files are actually academic work.

    Spyware: Shall have access to spyware protection? Are there any really good commercial spyware products? When we move to Symantec 10.1 in the summer it should have some spyware protection. I am far more worried about rootkits than spyware, although they are often used together.

    Firewalls: I have firewalls on the clients (window controlled by gpo) but not as yet on the servers, I will run the server lockdown utility when I have the time to implement and test it once server migration has been completed. Same goes for ipsec.

    Edge firewalls would be more of an issue if I had *real* internet access, but I do pass most data through a debian vm running shorewall.

    Auditing. When was the last time you were able to sit down and sift through 500 thousand audit entries? I'm not even logging all those details, its just left on whatever 2003 logs by default.

    Wired security. Erm, putting cables in wall cavaties? Have these people seen schools? Mine is built of concrete, blockwork, steel and asbestos. I have no wall cavities! Its surface mount, false ceiling or nothing!

    Edge: Should be 1GB between edge and the core? I do have GB but this seems a little pointless until I get GB for my internet connection!

    Redundancy? I can't. Its not my router for a start, it belongs to bt. I have only one line - a LES 10Mb. There are more outages caused by the LA and Segfl than me. I have had 3-4 loss of service events this year already. And email getting stuck on their mail server for over a month.

    Edge Tech: Again, pointless to specify these things as many of us have no control over what protocols our edge equiptment and services provide. As I said the router is not mine and I have no access to it. No point supporting QoS when segfl said no chance of getting it anyway.

    Video conferencing? No chance, I've been through this with the LA, no QoS, no point.

    Network Core. Lots of shalls here, most are expensive and time consuming to set up. I'll have one of those nice HP procurve 9000 series thanks! Even the 5400s are classed as edge switches by hp.

    Too many silly Shalls in enabling the core too. As I mentioned earlier I don't have QoS availiable end to end from the client to the server so there is little point in using QoS/CoS yet.

    SANs: I use fibre, but not FCIP afaik. iSCSI doesn't work with Vmware ESX for example.


    Technoloigies for the user device: Specifying battery life on laptops? Isn't this all getting a bit to contol freeky? Why is everything specified to such exacting requirements. The fact that a lithium ion battery only lasts a couple of years wether you use it or not seems to have been forgotten.






    So there we have it, a long technical specification. The problem is it has great detail in some areas, and is a bit vague in others. It refers to a great many other standards too. My issue is this: This document does not help me in any way. I know what needs to be done and how, but this does not facilitate these things in any way. What will it do for most schools out there? Nothing I'm afraid. Its all a bit of a rose tinted view of how these things work. Becta should come and visit a few schools round here to see that as they are using computers that are seven years old, then this document has nothing applicable to them. Time, money and skills are the issue, not functional specifications.

    I'm sure I could implement most of these standards and ideas, but only if the users would go away for a couple of years. Trying to manage all these things and deal with anything up to 50 interuptions a day is difficult. I suppose I'm quite lucky to understand most of the things in the document, but I would consider that I am rather underpaid for my current level of knowledge, as I'm sure many of us are. Can you really see any of this happening with our current budgets and staffing?

    David

  3. #48

    russdev's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Leicestershire
    Posts
    6,931
    Thank Post
    709
    Thanked 552 Times in 367 Posts
    Blog Entries
    3
    Rep Power
    204

    Re: BECTA Technical Specification Working Group

    Backup: Daily media should be stored in a fireproof safe? Um, no its going to stay in the tape library with all the other tapes. All weekly tapes are exported/imported every week and are held off site. If the school burns down then there is more to worry about than 4 days worth of data. I wonder how we are supposed to allow the students to do everything they might need to do for thier work, particularily audio and viedo work if there is no where to store this data or back it up to removable media in a sensible amount of time and for example tapes.
    ii am going to disagree here as you have got duty in law to keep data safe and also look at admin system losing 4 days worth of data is a major deal.

    Russell

  4. #49


    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    8,202
    Thank Post
    442
    Thanked 1,032 Times in 812 Posts
    Rep Power
    339

    Re: BECTA Technical Specification Working Group

    The requirement is cat5e as a minimum, not cat6 !

    Design criteria
    • The network shall be cabled with fibre optic cable or Cat5e or Cat6 copper cabling.
    also its worth mentioning that by utilising (relatively cheap) managed switches it possible to segregate the network using VLANs this will improve security,reliability and save costs on wiring. IMO managed switches are worth the extra - but maybe not in a tiny primary school with a handful of computers.

    Stored documents not save in propriatry format, thats complete nonsense and totally unworkable in my opinion
    Better that than have students save to propriety formats that they cannot open at home or in other schools without buying hundreds of pounds worth of software. This is basically to prevent schools from being locked in to certain file formats. THere are already a few schools in this country that already run on open standards software - it is entirely possible. Students who have not payed for eg MS access cannot work on database documents at home. I don't think its acceptable for state schools to require students to pay for these products to work at home when there are freely available open alternatives (and potentially they would need to pay for a new operating system, I know a few kids that upgraded their pc's to linux).

  5. #50
    DMcCoy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Isle of Wight
    Posts
    3,466
    Thank Post
    10
    Thanked 496 Times in 436 Posts
    Rep Power
    113

    Re: BECTA Technical Specification Working Group

    Quote Originally Posted by CyberNerd
    The requirement is cat5e as a minimum, not cat6 !

    Design criteria
    • The network shall be cabled with fibre optic cable or Cat5e or Cat6 copper cabling.
    also its worth mentioning that by utilising (relatively cheap) managed switches it possible to segregate the network using VLANs this will improve security,reliability and save costs on wiring. IMO managed switches are worth the extra - but maybe not in a tiny primary school with a handful of computers.

    Stored documents not save in propriatry format, thats complete nonsense and totally unworkable in my opinion
    Better that than have students save to propriety formats that they cannot open at home or in other schools without buying hundreds of pounds worth of software. This is basically to prevent schools from being locked in to certain file formats. THere are already a few schools in this country that already run on open standards software - it is entirely possible. Students who have not payed for eg MS access cannot work on database documents at home. I don't think its acceptable for state schools to require students to pay for these products to work at home when there are freely available open alternatives (and potentially they would need to pay for a new operating system, I know a few kids that upgraded their pc's to linux).

    Institutions shall install 802.3ab or 802.3z Ethernet in their backbone, between their servers and key network hardware.

    Also I'm not sure I would say that managed gigabit switches are cheap (they want 1GB to clients), thats not so say thats not what I have been fitting, but they aren't cheap.

  6. #51


    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    8,202
    Thank Post
    442
    Thanked 1,032 Times in 812 Posts
    Rep Power
    339

    Re: BECTA Technical Specification Working Group

    I see, cat6 on the backbone for 1Gb/s and cat5e elsewhere, I can't argue with that !
    PS. your ISP sucks almost as much as ours - RM by any chance?

  7. #52
    DMcCoy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Isle of Wight
    Posts
    3,466
    Thank Post
    10
    Thanked 496 Times in 436 Posts
    Rep Power
    113

    Re: BECTA Technical Specification Working Group

    Quote Originally Posted by russdev
    Backup: Daily media should be stored in a fireproof safe? Um, no its going to stay in the tape library with all the other tapes. All weekly tapes are exported/imported every week and are held off site. If the school burns down then there is more to worry about than 4 days worth of data. I wonder how we are supposed to allow the students to do everything they might need to do for thier work, particularily audio and viedo work if there is no where to store this data or back it up to removable media in a sensible amount of time and for example tapes.
    ii am going to disagree here as you have got duty in law to keep data safe and also look at admin system losing 4 days worth of data is a major deal.

    Russell
    I do keep my data safe, but the problem is this goes against the way tape librarys work. The tapes are designed to stay *in* the library. If I want to take a tape out I have to export it through the software, it then gets ejected into the loading slot. If I want to put one in I have to import it then have the software rescan the library. It is like this because import/export is not supposed to be frequent. I automate the weekly export after the backup finishes. All imports have to be manual however. A business would have the tape library in a different location, I cannot.

  8. #53
    DMcCoy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Isle of Wight
    Posts
    3,466
    Thank Post
    10
    Thanked 496 Times in 436 Posts
    Rep Power
    113

    Re: BECTA Technical Specification Working Group

    Quote Originally Posted by CyberNerd
    I see, cat6 on the backbone for 1Gb/s and cat5e elsewhere, I can't argue with that !
    PS. your ISP sucks almost as much as ours - RM by any chance?
    The issue is it is recommending cat6 as an upgrade for cat5e, but at the current time there is no benefit, it just costs more money.

    On the ISP front, yes it is RM, Segfl. I have had many arguments with them about many things, mostly their fault. I did get them to agree to do all my change requests in one go and got 6 public ips and 70 firewall rule changes done :P

  9. #54

    GrumbleDook's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Gosport, Hampshire
    Posts
    9,952
    Thank Post
    1,346
    Thanked 1,800 Times in 1,118 Posts
    Blog Entries
    19
    Rep Power
    597

    Re: BECTA Technical Specification Working Group

    Some thoughts on my summary before I start writing it in earnest.

    The presumption of FITS being fully implemented is a large one. FITS has time and cost implications on its own even before we look at the technical and functional specifications. Perhaps more assistance with training and implementation is needed before most of us go any further.

    The specifications may not *be* a shopping list, but that is how it would come across when taken to the people that sign the cheques. As part of a running replacement program then it does indeed set down guidelines and the *shall*, *should*, etc is helpful to prioritise things.

    The implementation of all of this relies on a certain amount of funding being available, even if you do spread it out over a reasonable time. It is nice that money is not being ring fenced by county now ... but that is no guarantee that it will be allocated decently in the school budget ... after all, a Head or bursar may decide that there are greater priorities (capital builds, books or maybe even more staff!). Although there is a push for 3 and 5 year planning for IT Infrastructure, let's be honest ... how many of have that in place and with the complete backing of Senior Management? More emphasis on this to Senior Leaders in schools would be nice (it also means that we can get things down on paper about the direction an individual school is going).

    We also have to make the unfortunate comment that a stumbling block will be who makes the decisions about where things are going ... people have given recent examples of Senior Leadership not having a clue ... others have shown that it is the Local Authority or RBC that is the block ("We know best ... do as we say!") and there needs to be a greater level of accountability on this.

    There are a number of areas in the specifications that have raised concerns themselves. Most are issues down to cost, time or the simple reality of whether we think they are as important (or more important) than Becta do.

    I will collate those mentioned so far, with the corresponding arguements for and against.

    Any more to add?

  10. #55


    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    8,202
    Thank Post
    442
    Thanked 1,032 Times in 812 Posts
    Rep Power
    339

    Re: BECTA Technical Specification Working Group

    I think the real problem with the tech spec not any of the technical solutions that they recommend, but is the fact that it is largely optional, AFIK the specification it is not enforced by either incentives or disincentives (although I understand that it will form the basis of a contractural requirement for BSF schools).

    I informed SMT of the tech spec when I read it in November, but they decided they would *completely* ignore the document despite it being (IMO) an overall strategy to improve ICT. The attitude was simply that SMT know better about ICT related matters than a team of ICT specialists employed by Becta, which of course is completely ridiculous. This particualrly annoys me because SMT will happily spend thousands on the latest technological fad without investing in infratructure or having any concept of TCO.

    The whole point is that its an overall strategy that would raise standards, its something that I personally try to work to but find I often can't because (sensible) ICT decisions are overruled by SMT

  11. #56

    Geoff's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Fylde, Lancs, UK.
    Posts
    11,803
    Thank Post
    110
    Thanked 583 Times in 504 Posts
    Blog Entries
    1
    Rep Power
    224

    Re: BECTA Technical Specification Working Group

    Spyware: Shall have access to spyware protection? Are there any really good commercial spyware products? When we move to Symantec 10.1 in the summer it should have some spyware protection. I am far more worried about rootkits than spyware, although they are often used together.
    The sunbelt antispyware is decent. centralised management/deployment/reporting etc. Everything you'd want really.

    http://www.sunbelt-software.com/

    Edge firewalls would be more of an issue if I had *real* internet access, but I do pass most data through a debian vm running shorewall.
    The amount of junk that floats in from my LEA's network is depressing. Try putting snort on your debian box and see how much it notices. I bet you wont be happy.

  12. #57

    russdev's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Leicestershire
    Posts
    6,931
    Thank Post
    709
    Thanked 552 Times in 367 Posts
    Blog Entries
    3
    Rep Power
    204

    Re: BECTA Technical Specification Working Group

    Quote Originally Posted by CyberNerd
    I think the real problem with the tech spec not any of the technical solutions that they recommend, but is the fact that it is largely optional, AFIK the specification it is not enforced by either incentives or disincentives (although I understand that it will form the basis of a contractural requirement for BSF schools).

    I informed SMT of the tech spec when I read it in November, but they decided they would *completely* ignore the document despite it being (IMO) an overall strategy to improve ICT. The attitude was simply that SMT know better about ICT related matters than a team of ICT specialists employed by Becta, which of course is completely ridiculous. This particualrly annoys me because SMT will happily spend thousands on the latest technological fad without investing in infratructure or having any concept of TCO.

    The whole point is that its an overall strategy that would raise standards, its something that I personally try to work to but find I often can't because (sensible) ICT decisions are overruled by SMT
    I see what mean but a lot of it is for bsf but then best way is get lea involved see if can get site survey done by lea techies and ask them to put into report that future upgrades should be in line with becta standards.

    Then you are halfway there as smt cant argue as much as...

    Russ

  13. #58

    russdev's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Leicestershire
    Posts
    6,931
    Thank Post
    709
    Thanked 552 Times in 367 Posts
    Blog Entries
    3
    Rep Power
    204
    Sorry to be a vampire raise old post from the dead My Grumbledork sir have you got any updated copies of the spec that you can share.

    Russell

  14. #59

    GrumbleDook's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Gosport, Hampshire
    Posts
    9,952
    Thank Post
    1,346
    Thanked 1,800 Times in 1,118 Posts
    Blog Entries
    19
    Rep Power
    597
    Publicly available on the Becta website (found using their search engine ... not Google!)

    Industry and developers - Technical specification: institutional infrastructure - Becta

  15. #60

    russdev's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Leicestershire
    Posts
    6,931
    Thank Post
    709
    Thanked 552 Times in 367 Posts
    Blog Entries
    3
    Rep Power
    204
    doh

    Thanks


    Russell

SHARE:
+ Post New Thread
Page 4 of 4 FirstFirst 1234

Similar Threads

  1. Joys of working as technical support...
    By _Bat_ in forum General Chat
    Replies: 18
    Last Post: 5th February 2010, 08:46 AM
  2. ICT output specification document
    By Jimbo in forum BSF
    Replies: 26
    Last Post: 30th November 2007, 10:32 AM
  3. Becta Technical Working Group
    By GrumbleDook in forum Blue Skies
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 20th July 2007, 08:03 AM
  4. Becta Technical Working Group
    By GrumbleDook in forum General EduGeek News/Announcements
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 29th June 2007, 06:45 PM
  5. Baseline workstation specification
    By u8dmtm in forum Hardware
    Replies: 23
    Last Post: 6th May 2006, 09:04 PM

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •