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Wireless Networks Thread, CC4 or Vanilla? in Technical; Hi, We are a secondary school with 230 workstations - all networked as RM CC3. We are currently investigating whether ...
  1. #1
    BassTech's Avatar
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    Question CC4 or Vanilla?


    We are a secondary school with 230 workstations - all networked as RM CC3. We are currently investigating whether to move to a standard vanilla network with Windows 7 or stick with RM and go CC4.

    The easiest option seems to be RM CC4 as there are only two of us in the department - Me (the technician) and the Network manager. Has anyone moved from CC3 to Vanilla? What kind of work was involved? We are thinking of using a consultancy company to help us with the initial install, migration of users, exchange e.t.c. so if anyone has any recommendations that would be useful.

    We have a Year to do this so we are thinking of setting up a new vanilla domain with windows server 2008 and a few workstations to test policies, software on e.t.c.

    It would be really helpful if you could share your personal experiences, costs and the time to migrate from CC3 to vanilla (or CC4) as we are currently at the stages of deciding which road to go down.


    Last edited by BassTech; 12th May 2010 at 10:37 AM.

  2. #2
    Pete10141748's Avatar
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    I've not had to do a migrate before, but recently was looking at moving from Vanilla to CC4, and although CC4 looks very nice it doesn't really do much that you can't do on a Vanilla network.
    CC4 admittedly will save you time and effort vs. a lot of Vanilla methods, but you'll also learn a heck of a lot more doing it the Vanilla way.

    I'm sure there are some other threads around here that have debates/topics on CC3/4 / Ranger etc vs Vanilla.
    If you have lots of free time, and don't mind learning new ways to do things, then a move to Vanilla can save you money and teach you new things.
    If time if a factor and you want to be able to carry on doing everything quickly and easily as possible, then stick with RM and let their software do the hard work for you.

    Personally, I like the freedom that Vanilla brings, the amount I've had to learn to run a Vanilla network, and the fact that its kept the costs down too so I have budget for other things

  3. #3
    cbeeching's Avatar
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    I'm mulling over the idea in my head too. My local support team is saying go with CC4, but my gut feeling is that it is not the most cost effective/efficient way to go. However, I only have so many hours in the day, I am the only IT guy here (as well as being very new to all things school IT + networking), and I don't see me getting a pay rise/or even more hours if I choose to take on the stress of converting our network to vanilla all on my own.

    I do like the idea of going vanilla, as I like a challenge, enjoy learning new things, and I like to be able to tinker (which I can't really do with CC3 - I imagine CC4 is locked down about the same, if not more?!). The trouble is, the school doesn't care what is going on in the background, they just want the computers to work - which is fair enough, anybody who works at a school is likely to already have far too much on their plate. I know it seems like a defeatist attitude but I will probably reluctantly walk into CC4 world because at least then I don't have all the responsibility on my back. Perhaps if they were to add a bit more to my bag of peanuts I would change my mind..

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    sparkeh's Avatar
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    Ok before the RM haters coming along and shout about how good Vanilla is

    For me the question comes down to time and money. Do you have the time to run a vanilla network or have the money to invest in a system which will take a fair bit of the work away from you.
    I run vanilla, CC3 and CC4 networks. If I am completely honest I have the least hassle from CC4. People will come along and tell you that's not true citing horror stories of the past, and yes the release of CC4 was horrific, but in my case it certainly is true. Yes it does cost, but for us the cost was worth it to buy in a fully functioning network with pxe builds, BITS enabled sofware installations, pre tested wsus updates etc. To recreate this at my vanilla site I use sccm which, although costs a lot less money, I would happily pay to never have to setup again.

    People will tell you that CCx is restrictive, I have never really understood this as I haven't ever come across something I couldn't do with CCx because its CCx. Mostly people say this as they don't have the understanding of CCx to do what they want to do so say "Oh the system won't allow it".

    Another factor for us is the end user experience. CC3 -> CC4 is transparent to the end user so people just carried on as normal which was a huge plus for us.

  5. 2 Thanks to sparkeh:

    bossman (11th May 2010), webman (11th May 2010)

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    bossman's Avatar
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    We are going CC4 in September as we are a CC3 network been running for the past 8 years with very little downtime (8 hours in total but 4 of them down to miss configured MIS server raid not our fault) I did look very carefully at Vanilla and although it has its good points it does require more administration to which you need more bodies and that is where CC4 comes in and as we have our CC4 (newbuild SR1) already up and running on new hardware it sure looks good as we run a proof of concept (At phase 3 now) we have had no problems so far.

    Waiting for our early uptake of SR2 to arrive before we move forward with Phase 3, also integrated with this are 2 SANs one for user storage (6.3Tb) and one for VMs (Sun 7110) as we are virtualising most of our servers onto Xenserver.

    As sparkeh has mentioned he gets the least trouble from the CC4 network and I can understand why it just has everything you need at your fingertips but not forgetting Vanilla as it is up to you what you go with just look at your setup and how much it will cost for the upgrade connect licenses (not much for all the admin tools etc) and go for a new build if you can afford it with new servers and then look at the cost of setting up a vanilla system and how much more time it will take to get things just as you want them.

    "You pays your money and you takes your choice" but do it properly don't skimp.

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    We did something similar last summer, only real difference was we moved from classlink (viglen) to vanilla, however the process was very similar and we did consider moving to CC4 and having seen the demo and spoken to a number of other school's in our area we were exceedingly impressed by what it could offer unfortunately due to the cost of CC4 we were immediately priced out of that as an option however in reality we were always going to go down the Vanilla route (we wanted to go down a virtualisation path and at the time RM wouldn't entertain the idea).

    Ultimately we went for the Vanilla environment mainly due to the flexibility that it provided us. Having worked with Classlink in the school for 4/5 years, we wanted to learn more about our network and develop our skills. We are however quite fortunate in that there are three of us, and as part of the project we replaced all of our PC's as well (which has eliminated a number of the problems we used to encounter), and as a result we do have more time on our hands to allow us to manage our network.

    The company we used for most of this were Ergo based in Nottingham, can't speak highly enough of them. If you need any info on any of this, please ffel free to drop me a pm.

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    Rick2134's Avatar
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    Does anyone know how well CC3/4 performs on a thin client/VDI network?
    I am a Ranger site at the moment and have good knowledge of Vanilla but RM are asking to move us to CC4 network as my new build opens in September 2010. I guess the pro's from CC4 is deployment but i am running SCCM is there any point of moving over apart from remote access?
    Pro's and con's for CC4 would be great, as Ranger is not yet supported for Thin clients.

  9. #8
    jsnetman's Avatar
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    Go for it, the only thing that can happen is you save a bucket load of money and develop your server/network/deployment and AD skills to a higher standard. Its a no brainer really. Network manager and technician does what he/she is employed to do which is run and maintain a network and support users, teachers teach and pupils learn, don't cross the line or you won't be able to do it.

  10. #9

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    We migrated from cc3 to vanilla a few summers ago, fairly straight forward process really. We kept the same domain and started early in the year by transferring all staff laptops and admin computers to vanilla months before we actually removed CC3, only leaving the classroom computers to be done over the summer. Though use of loopback polices I was able to run vanilla machines and cc3 side by side a good 3-4 months before we actually moved to a full vanilla network.

    Then it’s just a case demoting servers..And rebuilding them as standard servers, then promoting again...Just remembers to transfer the roles before you demote the last server.
    During the summer we transferred all the users Home directories to a new fileserver using robocopy and reconnected the AD accounts.

    At first it felt like it was going to be a complicated process but it was actually very easy.The biggest job was actualy sorting out the images for all the different types of PC's and laptop's we had.

    I think RM has some notes on moving to a vanilla network and there are also loads off post on edugeek that helped me.

    If you have any questions please feel free to PM me.
    Last edited by mtdmitchell; 4th November 2010 at 10:22 PM.

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