Most new starters in an IT team have to deal with a patchwork quilt of legacy systems and networks patched together over time. For Matt Garland at Isambard Community School he was lucky enough to start from scratch. I went to meet Matt where he kindly volunteered for an end user review of KBOX from KACE.
The Isambard Community School is a brand new PFI secondary school in Swindon. Matt joined as network manager when a basic network had been put in place. He was tasked with supporting the school’s IT requirements as a specialist Performing and Media Arts college.
Q. What is it like managing a completely new IT Infrastructure?
Matt: “I think I’m very lucky, especially for a school because they are renowned for not having much money. But in our case we did have the budget in place and it was a case of going out to market and spending the money wisely. That decision is now paying dividends”
Q. Why did you look at KACE?
“The initial systems in place to manage the school network could not cope with our requirements so we went out to market to look for a solution, in particular we were keen to find something that handled both Windows and MAC environments. Macs are becoming more and more prevalent in schools since they handle music, design and technology software a lot better. The school wanted a dedicated iMac suite with thirty iMacs and tools that handle both windows and Macs are pretty much non-existent, and if they do Macs they do it badly. With 25% of our estate being MACs and growing we needed to ensure we had a good all in one solution. Additional requirements included ITAM functions, helpdesk and software delivery and packaging. We stumbled across KACE and found it to be a good all in one appliance. We had a brief trial and decided to go with it.”
Q. What do you use the KBOX for?
“We use KACE for deployment, helpdesk, IT Asset Changes and Software Tracking.”
“Multi-platform, integrated helpdesk, a fantastic all in one product.”
“Not the product itself but representatives in the UK that I could refer to would be good. Their support is good but it would be handy to pick up the phone to someone in the UK. The webinars are not in my time zone so I don’t get to ask questions and get hands-on advice.”
Q. What feature would you add if you had the choice?
“Some other utilities in the tool like user provisioning would be good. A lot of schools tend to use an external company like RM to manage their network but we wanted to keep costs down and handle things ourselves. If KACE offered user provisioning I think they would eat up a lot of market share.”
Q. Support or implementation?
“The box was shipped to us and we plugged it in a rack. There a few instructions on the initial setup which were dead easy to follow. We then had a webinar with KACE once a week for two weeks and by that time the system was fully implemented.”
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