i don't expect it to take too long to setup a new DC, but configuring everything the right way, writing new policies will take a while; as we're moving onto a mix of xp/vista/win7 we will with any luck be moving to Server2008, so no easy imaging; also no funky just upgrading, as need to wipe existing system really due to the combining of 2 domains, and getting rid of winsuite!
Though it was an RM server, my last place had the 2 main DC's upgraded, using some funky norton package that migrates/mirrors the whole server to a new one, minus drivers etc, and even migrated from 2k to 2k3. That took 1 1/2 days for 2 of them, but included 200GB of data transfer with it.
It's the GPO's that will be fun to write, and then assign, and the migration and config of the users to the new policies.
Lets not argue about how long it takes to rebuild workstations, as that is all dependant on too many different factors, but I'm saying 20 per day, and that's what I'm sticking with.
With forward planning (and assuming you have been packaging software up as MSIs etc) it shoudnt take too long. I set up a HA SAN and virtual environment, VLANing, physical moving of servers and cables, and rebuild all the windows and linux servers within a fortnight.
You'll definately want to be preparing a nice fresh image of WinXP, Vista, and 7 in adavnce. For XP id recommend Autoimage.
What about software? Is it all packaged up as MSIs? If it isnt that is a massive task which potentially could take months of non-stop work.
Setting up a windows network, in terms of DNS, DHCP, secured file server etc doesnt take long at all, a day at most. SIMS get your LEA in, me no like sims.
As you have said the policies will take longer, but if you start off by copying off all your current policies in human readable form and highlighting all the ones you want to keep. That way you should be 95% there in terms of XP with only Vista/7 polices to research. (You will NEED 2008 for this BTW, its not optional if you want to run 7 properly)
Printers - Get the logon script from the edugeek wiki, and export the current DHCP reservations ready for importing them back into your new server. There is also a printer migration wizard on teh microsoft site which acually works quite well. It will package up all the settings and drivers as a .cab file.
Last edited by j17sparky; 3rd February 2010 at 01:53 PM.
possible much quicker way is to get 2008 r2 enterprise on the mainserver and at least as a tempory measure us disk 2 vhd and migrate existing server across.
rebuilding from scratch is a pain but i managed a school (2 servers granted just curriculum and server 2 is basically a 2003 box for printers and abacus) adn rebuilt everything but teacher laptops (probably 100+ pcs and teacher s break them regually enough i decided they would wait till they did they all have local logons anyway) took me about 4 days i think that was reimaging most things luckily i diddnt lose my ghost packages but took the oputunity to rebuild base images to all be sp3. Granted sims is a pita (i have 0 idea how to do owt but install it on a workstation) but its not the world biggest job and al least everything is unboxed. 45gb images is one reason why i like ghost packages i dont have to manually install for the sake of argument textease i can just make it as a ghost packages and then deploy to pcs separately (or msi out)
I gather there are currently images for the existing desktops, but I shall have to edit them, as they haven't been configured properly, and are images for Winsuite.
Most of the important stuff is MSI'd, and the rest are small enough, or do not need physically installing, just copying the program folders. Primary programs tend to be rather simple things!
And thanks for the constructive posts here. Though there's a range of about 1 day to two weeks, It gives me a good guess, and enough for me to formulate a plan of action tailored to what I've got running here, and allows me to do some forward planning.
I was estimating 2 weeks work for fully operational anyway, barring any major problems. The fun will be when I get to do it; I am torn wheither I want to work during the term holidays, when I don't normally work for overtime, or wheither to work on it over a longer period of time, during term time. I suspect I shall go for a mix between the two!
Golly there are some interesting times suggested in this thread. Mine for a result I can walk away from with pride (everything works, no missing details) is around four days **with a helper**.
It takes me a good 1/2 a day to install and config the server and that is 99% automated (with ready-made GPOs and MDT for OS deployment) i.e. going a lot faster than someone can click and type.
Then you've got extras like backup to sort out, tape labelling, possibly some managed AV, and transfering data can take an age if it's from some chaotic system to your pretty new sensibly organised one. And before you can rebuild all those PCs/laptops you need to find out if anything needs to be rescued from any first, find drivers and so on.
When building (and how zippy is that Primary network infrastructure anyway?) chances are some irksome PC/laptop model or other will trip you up for bit until you've tracked down some precise driver version or done a BIOS update or something - this is more often laptops than PCs. Do they have any wireless - that will need configuring. You also may need to do some faffing about to make sure machines that go on IWBs are working happily. And perhaps figure out who does and doesn't need SIMS, who does and doesn't need access to various shares and so on. Then there's a couple of hours to explain it adequately to the people who have to use it.
 YMMV coz mine are very detailed, but to get the GPOs "just so" took several weeks and they're just for XP. Knocking MDT into shape took a couple of weeks too.
In a primary? For desktops it's the apps that count, not the OS - start mixing that and you're making it harder for everyone aren't you? I'd just do XP and work on the school to start replacing any old desktop h/w until it's all up to Win7 (or maybe Win8 if it takes them that long), then rebuild the lot again.we're moving onto a mix of xp/vista/win7
The school desktops and the admin pc's are all on XP at this time. But the staff laptops have been bought with a mix of XP, Vista and just recently Windows 7, and I did not see the point in nerfing a perfectly good laptop down to a 7 year old OS when there isn't much reason to do so, other than "It matches the older ones"
Probably shouldn't mention it here, but this is one of the areas where I think BSF and managed service providers will be expected to save money.
Currently, every school sets up its network in an ideal way and gets it matching the exact requirements of the school. In principle, this is a really good thing. It's also a really expensive thing.
If you say that every school in an LEA (or whatever grouping) is doing basically the same thing and needs basically the same network then instead of each school spending 2-3 days getting GPOs etc just right, you do it once per area (or, realistically, once per BSF provider)
That saves money. Does it provide a better service? Does any politician or newspaper leader writer care as long as it saves money for "hard working taxpayers"? Discuss :-)
if only that were the case. at the moment, unless i've grossly misunderstood it, each school that goes through these sorts of processes, their individual technicians will be expected to manage it, it is not being done centrally by the LEA or any central organisation. This would probably be too simple.
Hofstadter's law, conceived by the cognitive scientist Douglas Hofstadter, goes like this: any task you're planning to complete will always take longer than expected - even when Hofstadter's law is taken into account. Even if you know a project will overrun, and build that knowledge into your planning, it'll simply overrun your new estimated finish time, too, Hofstadter says. We chronically underestimate the time things take: that's why Sydney Opera House opened 10 years later than scheduled, and why the new Wembley stadium opened last year, not in 2003, 2005 or 2006, each of which had been, at various points, the predicted completion date. It's also why the list-makers among us get up each day and make to-do lists that by the same evening will seem laughable, even insane.
This is the "planning fallacy", and it's been well-documented by psychologists. (Presumably their experiments took much longer than intended.) It's a strange kind of delusion, since we're not really deluded. We know everything always takes longer than expected; we just seem to forget, again and again. In one study, students were asked when they expected to complete an essay, and gave an average answer of 10 days before deadline. The reality was an average of one day before deadline. Yet when the students were asked when they normally completed such essays, they knew the truth: one day before deadline.
It would be good to find a way around the planning fallacy, since never finishing your to-do list is a joyless way to live, and underestimating task-times means constantly rushing to finish things. (I speak as an expert.) How, though? Intuitively, it feels sensible to work out in detail what your projects involve, to break them into chunks and estimate how long each part will take. But the problem with unforeseen delays is you can't foresee them, no matter how finely detailed your planning. And so, writes Eliezer Yudkowsky on the Oxford University blog OvercomingBias.com, the unlikely trick is to plan in less detail: avoid considering the specifics and simply ask yourself how long it's taken to do roughly similar things before. "You'll get back an answer that sounds hideously long, and clearly reflects no understanding of the special reasons why this task will take less time," he writes. "This answer is true. Deal with it."
Better yet, where possible, avoid planning altogether. Use the "ready, fire, aim" approach, and correct course as you go along. As the blogger Steve Pavlina points out, the advantage is you quickly start getting real feedback. If you're starting a new business, say, you won't have to imagine how customers might respond to your adverts; you'll know. This approach also helps when it comes to those curious tasks that don't obey Hofstadter's law: the ones you fret about for weeks, but that end up taking 10 minutes. Sometimes, the secret to getting things done is just to do them.
Build new GPO's - roughly a week if its by yourself and you are building 2 or more and want them done properly
Migrate existing system - roughly a day to ensure all data, ADUC etc is transfered and integrated properly.
Rebuild the existing PCs - for arguements sake, 2 hours per PC.
Triple everything I put there and tell that to your bosses, and you will look like a man with a plan, plus it gives you some breathing room.
I am going to put forward 2 weeks for essential work where there will be disruptions to learning (ie, things will be on/off while I work on it) with a further 2 weeks of working but not fully operational (ie, some policies will need fixing, maybe some printers not fully up by this time) to include getting staff laptops, which invariably in these situations are never around when you need them.
I'm no expert on any of this, and have never commissioned a full network from scratch before, therefore I expect large amounts of trouble, and can be pleasantly surprised and look uber when it is ready early anyway.
This then gives me the "Scotty" factor of being able to do the majority in a week if it's deemed that 2 weeks is too long, expanding the "fix period" by another 1-2 weeks after as a result.
I aim to get the new DC up and running initially in spare time (which I have a decent amount of, since I can pawn some troubles off with "It'll be fixed by the new network!", and start work on the GPO's with a test machine.
I will then start decomming the old servers, porting sims and the AV management to them as a rolling scheme.
Once all up and running, I'll then start by rebuilding the admin workstations, (without sims etc school doesn't operate, primary kids can wait 1-2 days if needed due to computer problems), and do the staff laptops as a rolling program in the fix period.
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