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Windows Thread, The costs of a RM network? in Technical; Right where do I start.. Tutor 3/netsupport - to be honest don;t care what it is named asl longas does ...
  1. #31

    russdev's Avatar
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    Re: The costs of a RM network?

    Right where do I start..

    Tutor 3/netsupport - to be honest don;t care what it is named asl longas does the job and it does and we use it lot. Again VCD we use lot..

    If want cheap licenses with out the vcd/tutor 3 stuff have look at client mis licenses

    To be fair SATS I don't blame RM main problems was restrictions placed on design spec by QCA I think also technology has not caught up with what the QCA wanted.

    Easymail yes made mistake and they will pay for it in long run but other hand customer service has improved ten-fold.

    Two weeks to set up network sorry disagree yes can setup up in two weeks but for me it takes 6 weeks to have stable network.

    As someone said when on about the 2000 grand that is setting up a network not running costs.

    Now managed solutions from RM ironey is other day sat in talk in which RM managed college (not BSF) talked about how they outsourced and how it worked.

    I wish BSF looked ta this as model as we would have no issues at all with bsf then..

    First the college admits problems where due to bad management but in end decided going to go to managed solution so they gave staff 3 options

    1) redundancy
    2) Be employed by college but managed by RM
    3) Tuped over To RM.

    The existing staff all chose to leave so college hired (but paid by RM) and It manager who sole responsibility is with college and as such what ever they choose to install RM have to support and provide etc even if non-rm product.

    Then under him is several technicians etc (again employed by school) key here is that the loyalty is to school and not RM.

    Anyway if under BSF we had solutions like that 3 options on job then people wouldn't mind BSF as much.

    Anyway this college has certainly benefited from managed solution
    biggest issue with BSF is the fact that we have screen of silence on bsf contracts when they get implemented something edugeek is working on (watch this space)

    Russell

  2. #32

    webman's Avatar
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    Re: The costs of a RM network?

    Quote Originally Posted by russdev
    Anyway this college has certainly benefited from managed solution
    Don't mean to take this off-topic, but how have they benefited?

  3. #33

    russdev's Avatar
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    Re: The costs of a RM network?

    Think college benefited main reason was due to mis management and the fact they had two networks windows and novel.

    So a them starting again almost helped do it right from the start getting a it manager from technical background it seemed to right choice for them as they had lost faith in old system and needed a radical plan to solve issues.

    They did work on trying to get manager in to manage the current team and networks but for various reasons didn't work and no one on current team wanted to take role.

    Now have stable network with room for innovation and good customer satisfaction.

    Main thing for them was way they went about implementing it not managed service and something bsf should look at as good example.

    Russ

  4. #34

    webman's Avatar
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    Re: The costs of a RM network?

    From the information you've given, they could have had that without RM managed solution. All it needed was an experienced network manager and give them the task of implementing a new network.

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    Disease's Avatar
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    Re: The costs of a RM network?

    Aye, I agree with Webman, sometimes it's easy to confuse RM doing a good job with something any competent manager could do.

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    Re: The costs of a RM network?

    Quote Originally Posted by webman
    From the information you've given, they could have had that without RM managed solution. All it needed was an experienced network manager and give them the task of implementing a new network.
    I'd have to agree. There's nothing in that story that explains why outsourcing to RM Saved The Day (tm) over and above simply hiring people from anywhere who actually know their ass from their elbow

  7. #37
    wesleyw's Avatar
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    Re: The costs of a RM network?

    Not only that but from the sounds of it the IT Manager is only under the control of the college not RM so the choices they gave the original staff were changed for the new guy/gal?


    Wes

  8. #38

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    Re: The costs of a RM network?

    I'll give you all another scenario then. I visited a school today to look at thin client solutions (Sorry Ric ... I couldn't justify a trip up to you and this was Sun kit we are talking about too!!!).

    The school is a fairly new build ... originally an RM install (by RM) from scratch. There are now only 2 guys at this *large* school (creche through to VIth form going in this year) and a heap of machines. They leave the RM stuff in as it just works ... it does what they want and need, and the move to vanilla is just additional cost (in time principly) that was not needed.

    Instead ... they looked at the use of thin client technology for further expansion in some areas. They bought in a company that specialises in setting it up (the same way that RM, Dell, Ramesys or your local LA team could be bought in for things) and they have got it up and running ...

    They are still happy with an RM system on most desktops and the thin client solution is fine for use with Terminal Services (Sun Global Desktop ... niiice!)

    They might even look at introducing Macs if some of the new teachers are seriously into moving the media stuff that way ... at it is likely they will buy in to a specialist to set it up or to assist.

    Middleware and/or specialists may seem an additional expense to many ... but for some schools it is a good solution.

  9. #39
    wesleyw's Avatar
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    Re: The costs of a RM network?

    I think the thing is you get the best people to do the job if you're not great at Thin Client bring in an expert let them have the problems then learn the system once it's in place. However unless teh alternatives are a nightmare to put into practise at your company I think managed software solutions aren't the best cost wise or in general I'm not saying CC3 isn't useful it is to many people but does the cost really represent value for money I think Russ is right on several points but for our school we just couldn't condone the use of CC3 it caused more issues than it fixed.

    Sorry Russ


    Wes

  10. #40

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    Re: The costs of a RM network?

    Quote Originally Posted by Disease
    Aye, I agree with Webman, sometimes it's easy to confuse RM doing a good job with something any competent manager could do.
    My rehash not very good if wait few weeks we hoping to arrange some kind of case study with them so watch this space..

    Russ

  11. #41

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    Re: The costs of a RM network?

    Should also say not looking at if choice was right for college to goto managed service I was looking at process.

    My point I was making was process if BSF followed it wouldn't have as much an issue with it..

    My rehash is not fair view of it as said hope to get a case study of it in which whole thing can be made lot clearer..

    Anyway back on topic as said some schools would benefit from cc3 system some would not.


    Russell

  12. #42
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    The good thing about RM CC3

    In our case they installed, two servers, and we built 200plus pcs in just over a fortnight during the summer.
    RM's prices are NOT expensive. I have run them down in the past but its negotiating a good price that does it! We got four tenders in for a hundred pc's the other year and they matched/beat prices and they equalled specs.

    Without exception, there kit passed yr9/10 "Neanderthal thug" tests for longevity and resilience as other sample workstations were just not designed for inner city vandalism. Sure the "F series" buttons all packed in, but, one phone call and they were all replaced.

    Ease of use....me, as the Network Manager, on my own ran three servers, 250 ish machines and 50 laptops.
    Sims is supported by the council so a bit of help there, all other back up from RM. We are NOT an RM managed school but we UTILISE an RM network.
    Log on times with roaming profiles, a gig back bone and 100 nic at the station is about 15 seconds. With a gig nic about 7 or 8! I have yet to see a vanilla station do that...you may know better, frankly I dont care. If BSF in our city allowed RM to manage it, and all the sla's were CORRECTLY setup then I for one would love to be tuped over to RM.

    Building machines....I have used ghost etc and frankly its not bad but as a whole network scenario if you have many different types of machine it is poor. RM's way of building, then adding the packages and then locally imaging to a hidden partition is superb. Keep it up to date and when it goes "pop" you can locally restore in about ten minutes depending on the ammount of applications on board. If it can be reached by the network ie runs but has problems, then local support tools will allow me to rebuild/restore whilst sat at my desk/at home/later over the weekend.

    As for can I do any alterations on my network...yes very definitely! Do I need to...not very often as it works right out of the box. Sure, building packages can be a nightmare....and yes very often the security is such that you cannot make a package run right at first. But, one quick phone call or support call over their website and usually someone puts you right.

    Downsides...well quite a few really, but not like you may imagine!

    Sometimes the associated apps that come with RM are not all they are cracked up to be. eg Symantec av. I use it and have had massive problems that took six months to sort and lost me two servers, one of which was economically beyond repair (read toooooo old). But we had paid for our support and they honoured the agreement and replaced the server with a newer one from training dept and slowly but surely over what seemed like an age but, in truth wasnt too long and it was in the peak summer period they got me up and running. They subsequently mopped up any problems as they arose over the following months. (It sounds worse than it was)

    So to recap...
    ease of use/builds etc
    not that much more if any more expensive
    better quality kit
    excellent support infrastructure
    impressive performance at the station
    good local support tools
    VERY well locked don security wise straight out of the box....

    Sorry for the long post but I read all of the others and felt that a large amount of negativity about what is a good system was prevalent.

    Roll on CC4!

  13. Thanks to moriartythemundane from:

    webman (28th June 2008)

  14. #43
    monkeyx's Avatar
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    Before starting to work in schools I had never heard of an RM network.

    Now I have worked in schools for longer, I still can not understand why schools would use Ranger/RM et al.

    If they made financial sense then surely these tools would be used more widely within the IT industry.

    Please do not quote the "schools have special needs" as I find it insulting. In the three schools I have seen these tools being used, the people that bought them had been promoted internally within the school and did not have an IT background and chose this option instead of training for vanilla systems. In the other school I saw it bein used the LEA imposed an RM solution from above.

    Hey perhaps I am wrong and these tools have a role in the IT industry as a whole, I just find out hard to accept that "schools" use them as they have special needs!

  15. #44

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    Well I've worked with a different manufacturers education system (Viglen) A vanilla network with ranger on. A vanilla network built by myself and my old network manager in 2006, and now in my new post an RM CC3 Network.

    The System from viglen was good, as AD remained pretty un-molested, and the web management interface was good. It also utlilised ghost for duplicating workstations, and was very reliable; mind you we only had 60 workstations. It was not an outstanding product, but it was functional.

    The Network with ranger on it was very slow, but this was in the main due to major fiddling by previous network managers, and a bad installation, totally in-adequate for the size of the school. Ranger its self was a good product, although it slowed logins down, and at the time didn't support mandatory policies properly I seem to recall. This network was re-built by us in August 2006 to a vanilla 2003 based network with a few add ons, many custom scripts and Net Support etc. it still runs to this day in my old school very reliably, and I'm quite proud to be associated with the development of it.

    The CC3 network I've just inherited is a bit different to what I'm used to, but having worked with it 2 weeks, I can see the good and bad points. It's certainly easier to do certain things once you work out the RM way of doing things, no need to mess with scripts and GPO's as RM does it all for you. That way you know you can make that change without accidently messing up your network - mind you note the viglen classlink system could also do all that, so it's not unique. RM support seems to be a lot better than I was expecting, they are very patient even when asked the simplest of questions (like how do you map a network drive for staff. . . well I didn't know!!) Their support contracts are a tad expensive, but when you break them down into their componants, they're not as bad as they seem, like 500 a year for server SW support, that's only about 10 a week, which isn't too bad if you think of it like an insurance policy for your network. When you do get serious problems, they do respond quickly, our main DC was recently replaced just before I started, and it was covered by the support contracts so I don't think it cost the school a penny (except for the cost of the new hardware as the old server was beyond repair) but the labour was all part of the contract.

    However, if we were to have the oppotunity to re-build the network we would probably go with a vanilla network with a few purchased management tools to enhance it. Why? Well mainly because the things they want to do with ICT in this school really need to be out of the contraints of RM, so we are basically now outside the catchment audience for their product. Also I know myself and the technicians here have the skills to setup and maintain a reliable vanilla system, and with the proper documentation produced anyone should be able to take the network over in years to come and not have any hidden surprises.

    As has already been said, it's all about whether the RM solution fits your school, and not really about how good the product is, because the product on it's own is very good. It's when you're outside the limits of that product where it becomes a problem, and most of the complaints you'll see are along the lines of 'it won't let me do this, or it won't let me do that' Well that's because it wasn't designed to do that, so schools saying that should have picked a different avenue.

    Mike.

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    RM Experience in a high school

    Hi everyone. My first post on edugeek!

    I have had two experiences of RM at two schools:

    My previous post used RM connect 2.4 in a primary school. As many on here have stated connect 2.x was a dogs dinner, both reliability wise, and performance wise. The school asked me to migrate them off it within 8 weeks of starting there.

    My current post (5.5 years so far) Is in a large high school. I joined the school just as it was nearly doubled in size, and had a lot of new building's and computer equipment installed. We basically rebuilt the whole system to connect 3. The purchasing decision was made prior to my starting so I was in effect stuck with the decision.

    After 5 years I can say there has been positives and negatives, but on balance more negatives. I would have to say that the majority of negatives have surrounded the fact that the system doesn't fit our needs as a school, and we are definitely one of those establishments which is on the edge of the targe audience for cc3.

    There are 3 techy staff at the school, and we all universally want to move the school away from cc3 to vanilla windows as we feel we would have more control and a better ability to deliver a system that more closely fits the schools varying needs.

    I would agree that for smaller establishments, or even places where technical support isnt well invested in RM can make a lot of sense. However it does impose a one size fits all restriction to your network and users. It also insists that things are done the "RM way". For some places this is fine, in my experience a lot of schools no longer fit that way.

    I know for many people, RM's technical support is a strong point. I have to say that over 5 years Ive had some extremely varying levels of support. Some of it very good, and some of it very bad. It is unfurtunate that most of the bad experiences were often when we needed their support most. This has resulted on numerous occaisions with the majority (if not all) of our core Domain controllers being taken down for literally days at a time. The technical support guys did their best, and are great to talk to on the phone, however I got the impression their hands were tied (possibly by a large workload).

    in short:
    do I regret the RM purchase? On balance untill about 2-3 years in, it was good. After the schools needs expanded, it has out lived its usefulness.

    Would I recommend them? No. The fact remains, despite the claims otherwise, that RM software does not negate the need for quality technical staff. If you have the staff anyway, it does somewhat negate the need for RM.

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