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*nix Thread, Managing costs and moving to *nix in Technical; I've just had a meeting with my boss outlining this years MS licensing costs, coming to around 8k for our ...
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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Managing costs and moving to *nix

    I've just had a meeting with my boss outlining this years MS licensing costs, coming to around 8k for our 250 machines + servers. Put simply, this amounts to around the same money as paying the salary of a TA.

    So, I've been asked to come up with ideas for reducing it and making life more sustainable for us.

    My ideas are split into a few groups.

    1. Switch all machines in school to linux, except for a small citrix farm for running SIMS.net, and other software like that. We already have Citrix licenses.
    2. Switch only classroom workstations to linux, leaving teacher laptops as Windows machines, and leaving our admin machines as citrix thin clients.

    Now, in terms of cost, option 1 is obviously the cheapest in terms of costs of licenses, but will be a major project, and be a bit of a learning curve using Linux on such a widescale.

    Next is the question of servers. We currently run a windows 2003 server farm, with IAS, ISA, WSUS, AD, DNS, DHCP etc... Obviously, some of this could move to linux based servers (DNS, DHCP, ISA -> Smoothwall, IAS -> FreeRadius, fileserver etc...). The question is, what is the best way to manage a linux client system and maintain a windows thin client server system also?

    So, any thoughts, ideas etc...?

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    danrhodes's Avatar
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    Tell your boss to live with it and find the money, M$ licences are standard everywhere and are part of running ICT. Going to be one hell of a project / learning curve if you expect all staff and pupils to leanr a new O/S and programs!

    D

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by danrhodes View Post
    Tell your boss to live with it and find the money, M$ licences are standard everywhere and are part of running ICT. Going to be one hell of a project / learning curve if you expect all staff and pupils to leanre a new O/S and programs!

    D
    Not an option. We have dropping pupil numbers, and are looking at redundancies. We can't just say 'we're going to spend thousands on ICT, but staff, they can go'.

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    danrhodes's Avatar
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    Still I think you may find it hard to get the chance ok'd at a higher level, people just don't like such drastic changes, even if the outcome would be cheaper.

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    nephilim's Avatar
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    speak with your boss and see if you can reduce the amount of PCs used. Taking an ICT class out of action for example should save ~1000.

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    danrhodes's Avatar
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    Seems to be a trend everywhere - BBC NEWS | Technology | Russian schools move to Linux

    The article is from a while ago but highlights a few good points!

    D

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by danrhodes View Post
    Still I think you may find it hard to get the chance ok'd at a higher level, people just don't like such drastic changes, even if the outcome would be cheaper.
    The person who has initiated this is the Bursar - what she says goes most of the time...

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    SteveBentley's Avatar
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    As a halfway house - keep Windows but replace MS Office with Open Office?

    If you do go fully down the linux route, you may need to factor in training for yourself and your team in administering it, and perhaps some external consultancy to be on standby as you probably won't be able to call on the LEA for help should the brown stuff be hitting the fan and you find yourself out of your depth. Not suggesting that you'd ever need to use it, but if you have that back up from the LEA now you need to budget for an equivalent.
    Last edited by SteveBentley; 9th June 2010 at 12:39 PM.

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Just to say - this isn't a request for options such as 'carry on as normal' or 'reduce the number of physical machines'. It is asking for advice from schools who have already done such a thing, using linux around their schools etc...

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveBentley View Post
    As a halfway house - keep Windows but replace MS Office with Open Office?
    That'd only save a small amount, as we'd end up having to buy Office licenses for the admin and staff machines anyway (for use with SIMS.net).

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    DrCheese's Avatar
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    Harsh as it sounds, the cost of one TA is worth it. Such a massive and overwhelming change is not worth saving 8k which is chump change in the scheme of things.

    The aggro and hours wasted on retraining/dealing with new issues will cost a ton more. Losing one TA would affect only a few people, changing to an entirely new system would affect everyone massively. If it was simple, everyone would have done it years ago instead of laying off staff.
    Last edited by DrCheese; 9th June 2010 at 12:41 PM.

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrCheese View Post
    Harsh as it sounds, the cost of one TA is worth it. Such a massive and overwhelming change is not worth saving 8k which is chump change in the scheme of things.

    The aggro and hours wasted on retraining/dealing with new issues will cost a ton more. Losing one TA would affect only a few people, changing to an entirely new system would affect everyone massively.
    Sorry but this is not helpful. I don't want to hear that we're 'stuck' with windows. I want to hear any tips from people with Linux in their schools already. There are plenty on here!

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    DrCheese's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    Sorry but this is not helpful. I don't want to hear that we're 'stuck' with windows. I want to hear any tips from people with Linux in their schools already. There are plenty on here!
    I'm afraid it is, you seem to just be rushing to deploy Linux without actually realising the non obvious cost of doing so. I'm sure you can find a ton of advise on how to deal with the change but at the end of the day there is no way moving to Linux is going to save you 8k. If anything, it will end up costing you more. It simply isn't worth it
    Sorry if it isn't what you want to hear, but I won't sugar coat it.
    Last edited by DrCheese; 9th June 2010 at 12:47 PM.

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrCheese View Post
    I'm afraid it is, you seem to just be rushing to deploy Linux without actually realising the non obvious cost of doing so. As a taxpayer I have a right to be concerned. Sorry.
    How does it help? I've been told 'reduce licensing costs, look at free OS's, changing clients will be required and teachers will have to learn to live with change - we can't afford the large cost of licensing any more'. Telling me the equivalent of 'sack a TA' is not helping me.

    To expand on the 'non obvious cost'. I know full well that a major change will mean needing to provide training to staff, that some software will no longer function etc... It will also mean longer lives for PC's, less server power needed, less licensing costs, and a generally lower TCO.

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    danrhodes's Avatar
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    Agreed this does seem like a rather snap desicion on your Bursars side, maybe one to get them out of the red quickly, who knows.

    I do agree that although it sounds harsh, the removal of one 8k TA to save the hassle of a very large change over that would affect the school for many years to come seems a little obscure!

    IMO, they have asked you to look at licensing, why not go back to them with a different / better solution that would have less of a knock on, finding better solutions is our job is it not?

    Edit - Given your last post localz, you have it in your head that the option they have provided is the only way, if it we're me I would be protesting the change with everything I have.

    D
    Last edited by danrhodes; 9th June 2010 at 12:52 PM.

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