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network/systems improvement Advice

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  • network/systems improvement Advice

    Dear All

    Ok your going to have to bear with me on this one, theres lots that I need to say and I am looking for advice on how best to tackle this.

    I will summarise what we plan/would like to do, we are not going to do all of this in house, we are going to some consultency from third parties to assist us.
    • Replace 2 X aged 2003 servers (1 which runs print server, DC with all roles, exchange 2003, dns, DFS, dhcp and the other server which runs various IIS services, second dns, DFS) with virtualised versions.
    • Introduce Server 2008 to replace old 2003 boxes so will expect to have a mixture of 2003 and 2008. 2008 boxes will be the new DCs, DHCP, DNS, Exchange 2007 and all the rest. These will be virtualised boxes using VMware and there will be a physical DC as part of this for extra redundancy. Exchange 2003 will be migrated to 2007 with mailboxes moved over and shrunk so only a years worth of emails are carried forward.
    • Improve our machine deployment options, currently use ghost and don't like it anymore, very time consuming and am keen to investigate alternatives like Microsoft BDD 2007... System center 2007.. Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2008... Novell Zenworks.. to streamline our operations and because so many different options are open to us being a schools agreement customer. This is especially important as we intend to roll out Office 2007.
    • Improve our backup operations to store backups up to 1 month (currently only store 2 weeks), want to utilise VMware functions to assist us to improve the schools backup and DR strategy. Also want to implement a SAN to replace our much worked NAS box and this to be part of our backup. On a weekend/nightly want our backups of files and Virtual machines to be backed up onto the Nas box as a secondary backup which will be on another site whilst using the snapshot features a SAN will bring. Will HP MS SANs give us these options or will we need to invest in a more expensive SAN?
    • Integrate our Windows and Mac network together so its one AD username and password and either we centralise all windows/apple storage to a SAN or use a SAN for Windows storage only and use our existing Apple XRAID box (which is perfectly capable) for Mac storage. We also want to control pupil desktops on both the windows and Mac network. We can currently do this because we have 2 seperate networks and directory systems (AD and OD) but administration/management is proving difficult. Apparantly Novell Identity manager will do this?
    • We currently use mandatory profiles for pupils and roaming profiles for Staff. I want to give staff a choice of a mandatory/roaming profiles. How would I implement such a change? 1 companies is trying to sell me Novell Zenworks which apparently will make mine and the technicians life a lot easier.
    • Have a system where if a new user is created in CMIS it automatically creates the user in AD (save administrator time and streamline operations). I know some IT managers have created scripts but is there a tool which wil do this? again Novell identity manager has been suggested to me.

    I am looking for help/advice from fellow pros on how they implement these solutions in their organisations. I have different suppliers offering me different solutions, one supplier in particular is pushing Novell solutions which sound good but I ask the question, can these operations be done using Microsoft Technologies or alternatives. I am keen to explore Microsoft options as we pay a lot of money for school agreement and want to ensure we are making the most of it.

    I know Microsoft have good free tools out there such as the ones I have explained above, do other schools use them, if so do they come recommended or would I be advised to look at alternatives such as Novell? From speaking to a Novell expert I understand these products dont replace AD/GPO etc just improves on existing features to improve operations and make our job easier.

    We currently have 2 hypervisors using VMware Infrastrucuture foundation and would like to continue using this and maybe look at upgrading to the enterprise edition for High availability, I intend to use these existing Hypervisors to move some of our existing services from old servers to these boxes. How best would I introduce server 2008 into our existing 2003 environment?

    If anyone could give me some advice it would be most appreciated.