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Wired Networks Thread, 3rd Party Network Support in Technical; Hi guys, Sorry if this is in the wrong section. We currently have a CC3 network and are looking to ...
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    Question 3rd Party Network Support

    Hi guys,

    Sorry if this is in the wrong section.

    We currently have a CC3 network and are looking to move to a Vanilla solution using VMWare to virtualise the new DC(s) and other servers.
    My question is this, what companies offer support aimed at education for Vanilla solutions using VMWare? We looked at RM but they only offer Vanilla support, not with VMWare, even though they supply VMWare solutions (what?!).

    I am the only technical person here with knowledge of 2008 servers and vmware, so if I am off ill, or when I eventually leave, there is no one here to support. Obviously, we have this in place with the RM network at the minute and management are keen to continue this kind of service.

    Do you have any experience of companies that offer this kind of service, that are specifically aimed at education.

    Thanks

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    Best get the support partner to build it. But always have a support contract direct with the Manufacturer, though always try to use the contract with the solution provider to co-ordinate any support required.
    Make sure your team understand the major components of the solution well enough to be able to identify whether a given problem is likely to be in the vSwitch the iscsi SAN or a Windows 7 bug (for example). If you don't have a team, then make sure everything is documented well. Especially the relationships.
    At any technology hand over always make sure that you have at least two members of the team taking notes.
    Publish your notes internally. Document dependancies and solution architecture (This should be done by the solution provider).
    Make sure that you have at least two weeks training a year.
    Understand escalation routes for a given incident.
    Ensure the Head knows who to pick up the phone to if the 3rd party service needs a kick or you are off sick (get your Account Manager and the Solution Architect and if possible the Services Director to meet him early on, and for some an ongoing bi-annual meeting is recommended just to keep people focused)
    Have a clear devision of responsibilities. Understand what changes you can make without putting the network into an unsupported configuration. Understand what changes they can make when responding to a support call, and how this will be communicated and documented.
    There is probably not a huge difference in cost between a CC4 implementation and five years of support and a vanilla implementation and the level of support you require. However with the Vanilla implementation with support you will have better access to the third parties than you would likely recieve with an off the shelf network management tool based managed service network (like cc4 or classlink)

    Finally try to specify/favour solution componants that an alternative Service Provider could support.

    Viglen
    XMA
    euroele
    Dell
    Logicalis (though they might not come out to play with individual schools anymore)

    Consider using a framework since you'll porbably end up crossing the £156K threshold
    ICT services framework - The Department for Education

  3. Thanks to psydii from:

    TMODAlpha (6th February 2012)

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    Thanks for your input. Interesting points.

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    I'd also advocate linking your AD to your RBC UK Access Federatrion Accounts if they support it.

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    Especially as you're based in Nottingham, give Ergo Computing a ring. They installed our VM Ware solution and provide us support since the installation.

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