Just when you think it's all going to plan . . .
Basically it boils down to the fact that I've recently been told that people higher up in the tree than me would rather I didn't spend £10's of thousends on a new network setup this year for many reasons, which I won't go into now. It's a pain in the backside, because I've spent the last 3 months researching very carefully what we could change to, and have had many consultants and engineers in to advise and provide quotations for different bits and pieces, we were pretty much at the stage where we could place an order. Then I got told that they no longer wanted to make that investement at the moment. The reasons they have given are perfectally valid and I totally understand why, but I did rather arogantly turn round to the business manager and say 'we've got to, the network just isn't going to last another year in it's current state'
Thing is I'm now questioning my judgement, and wondering whether I've been spoilt by previous schools I've worked in having very up-to-date technology, and been very single track minded on wanting to change what we have for no other reason than I 'think' we should. Bear with me a minute or two while I describe my current scinario, and see what you think.
We are currently an RMCC3 school, we have 330 Wireless laptops and about 140 Desktops for student use, and 65 Staff laptops, and around 15 staff Desktops around the school. As you can see, it's not exactly a small network. We have RM servers running the main system, with a SIMS server, proxyserver etc but they don't matter as they are fairly new, and would have been kept. It's the mainstay servers of the network that are the issue.
Server 1 is fairly new, after its predecessor failed last year, It has around 200GB storage on it, and is a well speced server. However, most of the available storage on it is used as it's the most reliable server on the network, we currently have around 12GB free for staff areas and about 50GB free for student areas (years 7, 8 and 9) on that server.
Server 2 is very old, at least 5 years, it's still running server 2000 and doesn't do anything except RADIUS authentication for our wireless system. IT has a habbit of falling over about ever 2 or 3 weeks at the moment.
Server 3 is the same as Server 2, and hosts out shared drives, has around 30GB free on it. It also hosts some printers. We have had 2 failed drives in the last 6 months on this server, and it hates being restarted, often hanging on the BIOS screen.
Server 4 is around 3 years old, and has about 140GB of storage on it. This server is the second most reliable server on the network, and hosts all our printers, and the year 11 and 12 user areas, as well as running our intranet, helpdesk system, Eclipse and a couple of other SQL databases for other programs.
Exchange server is the same age as server 2 and 3 and is running exchange 2003. It struggles, but is actually reasonably reliable.
Now my question is this, am I just being single minded in insisting we renew this lot with a brand new setup? What would you do, risk it and make the best of it for another 17 months or keep insisting that the investment was made? I've been assured that we would be able to renew it next year if we don't this year, as we would be able to draw on money that's available for a new building project that's in the works at the moment. I fear that may be too late, but I'm wondering if I'm just over reacting and playing it too safe.
The network is a little on the slow side, but does need a lot of TLC to keep it running, like regularly re-booting of servers and regular clear outs of stuff from the kids areas to stop all the space being used up. To the end users the system appears reliable, behind the scenes it's a little chaotic somtimes, but downtime has been less than a day since September. I think because we're so good at keeping it working, they don't see the need to change it because to them it appears to work, and appears to be reliable. I think the business manager thinks I'm being two closed minded about the situation, and that we could 'struggle through' which I protested at when he said it, but thinking about it, maybe I am?
(Incidently the proposed new network will be non RM, which saves us £10k a year already on RM licensing, support and warranty extensions for our aging servers. The quotes for it were coming in around the £55k mark, with room to shave off some of the 'would be nice' extras we don't necessarily need.)
Any advice appriciated, because I've either got to accept what they've said and make the best of it, or give a damn good convincing arguement (which isn't too much technical jargon about server lifespans and the like) to push the project through. :confused:
And if you've read this far, well done!