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O/S Deployment Thread, Active Directory Across Many Schools in Technical; Hi guys. I am designing a system that involved deployments of machines across schools in different regions. I am thinking ...
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    Active Directory Across Many Schools

    Hi guys. I am designing a system that involved deployments of machines across schools in different regions. I am thinking of setting up Active Directory to manage these schools. I come here asking for advice as I am a newbie to AD. I get the overall theory I think, and I am really excited with the GP settings and whatnot, but many of the schools the computers will be in will have either low bandwidth or sporadic connections which makes me nervous about using this technology. I also don't want to make the students to physically have to login the machine with their own account. I'd prefer the option at some of the schools to be able to just start the computer, it connects to the domain if it can, and it just does its thing with no user interaction required.

    Any suggestions or insights? I am setting up Active Directory on Win Server 2012 in my lab. Also any other resources would be great that you may have come across.

    Thanks!

    Matt

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    This is all entirely feasible with Active Directory. with the low bandwidth and sporadic connections you will need to have a domain controller (or two) at each location - so it might be worth looking at alternatives which will be more cost effective and will use the same protocols and the same Microsoft tools to manage the domain.

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    mattcrum (19th January 2013)

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    Thanks a lot. This is helpful. You bring up an important part: cost. I rarely begin to understand Microsoft's licensing strategies. The alternative of Samba may be very valuable.

    Also due to cost, some of these schools are in places that may not have the technical capacity to maintain a domain controller per school. They may have to be maintained regionally.

    The goal with this is to essentially image the machines, put them in these classrooms, and have enough control over them that if something goes wrong, we can issue a patch or some sort of fix. If there is any new educational content to distribute down, I would also like to be able to issue those through a domain controller. I realize sporadic internet and low bandwidth could pose as problems in these situations. I'm hoping that I can figure out some way to just collect the stuff like content updates as internet is available in the background without the user's knowledge...

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    I do this with one of my clients (non education but same principles).

    Site A - All Services held, file server, exchange, apps etc

    Site B,C,D,E,F,G - Domain Controller which replicates back to site A hourly along with a File Server which replicates itself back to the main file server at A for backing up.

    This means that everything critical is stored centrally but the speed on each site is fairly good for the clients. Read up about Active directory Sites.

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    mattcrum (19th January 2013)

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    You can do clever things if you do this right, SCCM for example.

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    Thanks for the help friends. Glennda, I love your setup style idea. That may be directly applicable. I may try to set up replication across a Synology NAS. We'll see what's possible with that setup.

    It looks like I'm going to have to figure this stuff out with Samba4. I'm a non-profit NGO worker so licensing with Microsoft looks like its going to be a hot mess... Including with SCCM...which I would like to use, but the licensing is literally dizzying and the cost seems to skyrocket.

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    MS licesing to schools isnt that much - in the uk you are talking £20 per server per year which with 2012 licenses will give you two servers.

    If you draw out a diagram of what you would like to achieve you can then work out costs from that.

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