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Wireless Networks Thread, Proposed New Network in Technical; Hi, It is so nice having a website which solely deals with the education sector of ICT . I am ...
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    Proposed New Network

    Hi,

    It is so nice having a website which solely deals with the education sector of ICT.

    I am in the middle of proposing a new network for my school (curriculum).

    I am currently running a windows 2000 server with mapped network drives for staff home areas etc. I have windows 98, 2000 & xp clients.

    As the school get bigger (we are being redeveloped), there is a greater need for me to have a more centrally managed system. Currently I have to go around each computer to install a new software package, whereby I am looking at putting in system whereby all applications are distributed from the server.

    I have been looking at CC3, but have heard good / bad comments. I have also considered doing it myself through windows 2003 server, but is this advisable?

    Any comments would be great!

    Robert

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    Re: Proposed New Network

    Very much advisable to do it yourself!
    You will of course have to learn a lot more yourself, as there wont be so much done for you out of the box, but if you can put the time in it would be more rewarding.
    Its always good if you've designed the network from the ground up and know all the in's and outs of it, easier to troubleshoot
    Plus you'll save the school a lot of money

    I assume you are running a domain at the minute? If so you've obviously got some experiance with Active Directory etc so its not like you would be totally jumping in at the deep end

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    Re: Proposed New Network

    Hi Sidewinder,

    Thanks for the comments.

    I do have a basic knowledge, but do not understand about RIS and Package deployment. I have purchased a book for learning windows 2003 server, but is their any other resources where I can get a more overview / step by step process for getting a basic system running for rem,ote installation of windows xp to desktops and pakcage deployment.

    Thanks for the fast reponse. I need to get a building networked using the new system ready for September 2007!

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    Re: Proposed New Network

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Profiles-Int...4339613&sr=8-1

    Get it. It's bloody good.

    :-)

    Forgot to mention why!

    ..errmm..it covers RIS, GPSI (Group Policy Software Installation) and things like profile types, registry settings, redirected folders and a lot of the stuff you will need to know quickly. I use mine all the time. I'm not too proud to say that it's saved my bacon a few times!

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    Re: Proposed New Network

    Welcome Robert ... Pop over to here and introduce yourself.

    I you can put where you are located too that can help pinpoint someone who is local to you that can help you.

    As for RIS ... there is a thread here which goes through some of the ins and outs of it ...

    For books ... I would recommend that Minasi series for seriously getting to grips with Server 2003 R2 and I would also recommend having a look through the Microsoft Webcasts pages for more information and help.

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    Re: Proposed New Network

    Cant argue with Kingswood's recommendation there. That book is one of the most useful Ive ever purchased, never found anything else that goes into group policy in such detail

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    Re: Proposed New Network

    Hi,

    Many thanks for all the comments. I will visit the other links to introduce myself etc.

    The books looks great - i might well order this

    Do you think I am pushing it a bit to get this ready for September or do you think once I get the main config done, everything else will be able to be carried out quickly?

    Stay clear of RM then? - Manual route will give me more job satisfaction

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    Re: Proposed New Network

    I wouldn't say stay clear of RM full stop.. we're now in our 5th year of a smooth-running CC3 network. The time you save not having to start a vanilla network from scratch and then mess about with GPOs, RIS, manual package deployment etc., you can put into developing new and other ideas to expand the network further. I could go on all day about the benefits to us of an RM network, much to the annoyment of the vanilla clan

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    Re: Proposed New Network

    One option you might want to considor is a self built network running a package such as ranger over the top (that's what we do)

    Packages such as ranger give you facilities such as bulk importing of users, easy user management, easy to manage desktops and start menus, extensions to active directory for additional security lock downs on workstations, user logging and package deployment and there's addons available such as ranger remote control that teachers can use in ICT suites to control and view users workstations etc. It's not cheap thou.

    There are other solutions and packages available, but we use ranger so that's what I'm familure with. Saying that, a lot of what ranger does can be achieved with active directory if you know what you're doing, ranger just makes it a lot easier.

    Having rebuilt our network from the ground up over the last summer holidays, I can tell you from experience it's no easy task. Preparation is the key, and alowing plenty of time for testing at the end of the project is vitally important too.

    There are also lots of other coniderations, not just the building of the network domain, but the migrating of the user accounts and data, exchange mailboxes if you have them and your MIS system not to mention every single workstation in your school would need to be re-imaged and tested. This is the one big advantage of using a company such as RM, as they will often carry out most of this work for you, and also crucially provide support when things go wrong.

    As a footnote, if you are the only technician in your school, I would urge you to go for a solution from one of the big companies, as carrying out a project like this on your own with little or no support is probably not a good idea. If things go wrong and your school is anything like mine then SLT will look to point the finger at someone, and if you constructed the network then that will end up being you. If you buy the network in, then you can pass the blame.

    One last thing, if you are looking to achieve this for september this year, then you can't hang around much longer. Companies such as RM, Viglen etc. will start getting booked up for installations over the summer from around now as schools find out how much money they've got to play with. Realisticly, in my opinion, you need to make the decision in the next couple of weeks.

    Just a ramble from me, hope it's helpful.

    Mike.

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    Re: Proposed New Network

    ops:

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    Re: Proposed New Network

    Quote Originally Posted by monkeyx
    If RM networks and Ranger were so good why is virtually no one using it outside of education.

    Quite frankly if setting up GPO and RIS seems like messing about, then I think you a working in the wrong sector! I have worked on some very secure accounts where vanilla Windows/Linux builds worked just fine!

    What made are builds slightly less vanilla is that we had a good understanding of AD, GPO, RIS etc etc so that it did what we wanted we very little day to day management.

    Sorry if my post seems blunt but I strongly believe that school networks are not unique and that standard OS tools work just fine and help staff develop industry wide skills, rather than a telly tubbies guide(RM and Ranger et all) to managing networks! All my technicians are happy to be learning skills that are going to transferable to any IT sector!
    Both ranger and RM exclusively aim their products at the schools sector, I'm not sure if they would even sell to a business. The tools they provide are supposed to make networks easier to manage than a normal active directory network, and are set up in a way that virtually anyone could manage the basics of the network. Most of that idea stems from the time where ICT teachers were quite often the network admins as well. They also offer certain useful features that are very specific to schools.

    Underneath an RM, viglen or ranger network is a normal active directory windows 2003 based network. The ranger, RM or viglen tools simply bolt onto active directory to make certain administration and management tasks easier, but do also add an extra layer of functionality. With ranger for instance I can bring up a screen showing prcisesly where each and every user is logged on, what programs their running, how long they've been logged on, retrieve a screen dump of what they're looking at, force a log off or shut down of the workstation etc. Some of these tasks can be achieved with a vanilla network, some can't, but having the ranger toolbar on my desktop means all of these tasks are just a click away. It's more of a convenience than a neccessity, but it's a convenience factor than many schools consider is worth the extra expense these systems cost.

    Insidently when I started here, I was very sceptical about ranger, and we had a very long discussion about whether to load ranger back onto the system or not when we rebuilt our network. The eventual answer was yes, as there are a few features in ranger that are either impossible or very difficult to achieve with active directory.

    Mike.

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    Re: Proposed New Network

    @rlculver

    Hi - I run several school setups that sound similiar to yours and I've started using WPKG to deploy software to my mixed bunch of workstations.

    You basically define groups of computers and groups of packages and use a profile file to determine which computers get which packages.

    All each client machine has to do is run a startup script (that I just stick in my All Users Startup group)

    I don't try and be clever and get packages to install silently and I just use AutoIt to automate the installs.

    It has the advantage of working on any (well Win98/2000/XP anyway) Windows OS Client and the "server" can be any machine capable of hosting Windows shares (so you can use a Linux machine running Samba if you like)

    I'm running it at 4 schools 2 with W2k3 servers, 2 with just a Win98 acting as a "server".

    Although the proper way to do things is to learn AD/GPO/RIS etc like the big boys and girls do around here - this method is a reasonable subsitute and doesn't rely on any knowledge only obtainable from large books or long courses [EDIT @kingswood but I've ordered that book you've recommend anyway ]


    regards

    Simon

    PS A useful and simple way to get started is to make up a .bat file thats sets the time of workstation to time of server and deploy that to a workstation.

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    Re: Proposed New Network

    ops:

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    Re: Proposed New Network

    Quote Originally Posted by monkeyx
    If RM networks and Ranger were so good why is virtually no one using it outside of education.
    Probably because their products are designed for education ....

    Quote Originally Posted by monkeyx
    Using those products limits your ability to learn standard OS features and ask for advice on how to manage your OS outside of the education sector
    Only if you stick rigid to them. We manage other non-RM servers as well, including Windows 2000/2003, Linux and BSD.

    For us, CC3 just makes life a little bit easier for our two-man team.

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    Re: Proposed New Network

    Let's not go down the route of RM versus Vanilla it's horses for courses after all CC3 can make your life easier also it can cause lots of problems only RM can help you with such is the nature of running a large system intregrated with MS Windows. I have moved two schools away from RM 2.4 and CC3 the networks can be longer to get up and running I did mine whilst the old network was still running and just turned it on in the summer rebuilt all the computers and attached them to the domain 6 weeks of making sure things were setup right then two weeks of the summer break used to move everything. We've had a much more stable system in my opinion however CC3 maybe for you I would look at the work involved and compare it to the cost of RM and RM support. It's not difficult to setup a windows network RIS takes some time to get used to but you could spend a little more and use Ghost or Net-Runna you can add utilities to the vanilla system to make things better and it will cost less than ranger or cc3 it depends on how customizable you want to make it and you could use LNM to setup your network then customize this until it matches what you want I've used it before and found it worked very well.

    Wes

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