(Part Two) A Note of Reflection from Roland Munyard @ GLASSHOUSE
Thoughts and Reflection about Software – Part Two
Hello, Apple, Extreme, Jamf, Schoolbox, Sophos, VMWare, AWS
A distillation of my thoughts about how your technology is being used to facilitate education. It’s a reflection about the different types of software and services we use at our College, why I choose these technologies and how they work together.
These notes are intended also to be useful to my suppliers and vendors as an indicator of their value to me. hence a note of reflection and recognition.
In case you missed it.
- Part One. A Letter of Appreciation to my Suppliers – (Part One)
- Part Two. Thoughts and Reflections about Software (Part Two) (this document)
A “light touch” is what is needed because humans only want it to work, first time, every time.
Like the air we breathe, we don’t want to have to think about it, but we know instinctively when it is fresh.
Technology can only ever be about people and humanity and any “big brother style” deviation from this principle of servanthood will fail miserably.
Circa 2009, I began introducing Apple Technology into the College with the intention that it would become our primary student and teacher learning platform.
Since the introduction of Apple Technology, we have harvested measurable gains in simplicity, productivity and functionality.
“When “creatives” need to write a paper, produce a movie, record a song, browse the internet, or create or consume information, they need to do so without concern, fanfare or inhibition.” – Roland Munyard
I chose Apple technology and hardware as our teacher and student platform because Apple was delightfully honest about what they could and would do for us.
- Apple Devices are simple to use, easy to manage and secure.
- There was no intermediary or ambiguity about costs, delivery or warranty.
- They were refreshingly clear about what you could or would not do.
- The cost of ownership and licensing was precise and clear.
- They delivered exactly what was advertised and promised.
- User and Student privacy inbuilt into the operating system.
- Their reliability and battery longevity can be demonstrated.
- They deliver a consistent user experience.
- Education and Apple go hand in hand. (they always have)
- Managing a fleet of school-owned devices in education is easier than ever, with Apple School Manager, Jamf Software.
- I’m able to give students and Teachers “Full Local Administration Rights” and still retain full of control over my Mac Fleet.
- Apple design and keep things simple.
- Which tasks Apple undertook they did reliably and consistently.
- Apple spoke openly about tasks they are either unable or unwilling to do.
A School Managed Fleet
- We own our entire fleet.
- We manage our entire fleet.
- We self insure our entire fleet.
- We use Apple School Manager and Jamf.
Apple Technology, to the best of my understanding, delivers a “Hassle Free” environment to students, teachers, and staff.
Over the past 10 years, Apple Technology has:
- Reduced overall costs of ownership.
- Apple produced excellent software which is easily managed.
- Reduced staffing and consulting requirements.
- Enabled me to introduce a high degree of automation.
- Enabled me to introduce “self-management” to staff and students.
- Provided a flexible, secure, consistent environment for learning and teaching.
- Apple Technology works reliably for 5, 6, 7 years and sometimes even longer.
- Reduced the cost or computer repairs and damages.
The fact that we self insure our entire fleet demonstrates our confidence in the hardware product.
- Our entire fleet went home effortlessly.
- We had about fifty (50) Tech Support requests from teachers staff and students.
…. just let that fact linger in your mind for a few seconds.
Only about 50 Support Requests related to hardware or configuration of about 1500 or 1600 Apple Devices in the hands of Students, Teachers and Parents during the holidays and lockdown period,
- We get a return of 1/3 of our capital investment cost after 5, 6, or 7 years.
- Just this year, since the start of 2020 (the past four months) I have sold over $70,000 dollars worth of secondhand 2013 and 2014 MacBooks.
- When we sell them, they are freshly re-imaged with the operating system available.
We sell our old Macbooks for $400 each, after 5-year use in education.
Whoever said Apple was an expensive solution?
I intend to keep things simple, keep things agile, pursue excellence, and continue to improve our fleet of Macs. Ever the Mac Evangelist, I may write a bit more about Tech and showcase our environment to school and organisations interested.
- Apple Distinguished School Summit 2017 (Gold Coast)
- Why Apple Macbooks are cheaper than Windows Laptops.
- Why choose Apple for a 1:1 Laptop Program
- 1 to 1 Reasons Why Apple (2010) PDF
We have used Jamf at our College since 2010.
“I doubt that a distributed fleet of over 1700 Apple devices can be successfully managed without Jamf or a comparable MDM product.”
I believe Jamf was then, in 2010, and still is now, the easiest most versatile and complete solution available for deploying and managing Apple Technology.
I choose Jamf because they have an excellent reputation and strong relationships with Apple, evidenced by the early release of updates, in response to fresh Apple releases.
- Jamf is the leading MDM solution and has been for a long time.
- Jamf has a polished “Self Service” feature which makes it easy for users to help themselves to applications and tools, and to run printer and configuration settings cleanup scripts.
- Jamf is a “no surprises” solution to distribute computer management
- Jamf has remained elegant and usable over the past ten years.
- Jamf Cloud is accessible from anywhere and is easy to use.
- Jamf Cloud works as expected every time.
- Jamf Cloud is Highly Available.
- Migrated to Jamf Cloud from Jamf On Prem (2 Days Notice. (woke up one morning and decided to go to Jam Cloud.)
- A high degree of control of Student and Teacher devices.
- Easy and rapid deployment of Applications and Services.
- Advanced Self Service Features – Students can help themselves.
- Easier for Students to use and manage themselves.
- It started with a six-week onsite demonstration and evaluation of Jamf Software working successfully in my environment.
- Jamf demonstrated to me that they could manage my Apple fleet simply, easily and quickly, which convinced me the Jamf was the right product for me.
- That was over 10 years ago now and we have never looked back,
We moved over to Jamf Cloud in 2019, which allows my entire fleet of MacBooks to be managed from anywhere in the world.
Jamf may appear to be an expensive solution but it works out cheaper, and over the long run. – (numbers talk and I can show you the numbers).
My advice to anyone in technology is to keep things simple.
- Use Jamf the way it was designed to be used.
- Use Apple Technology the way it was designed to be used.
- Don’t “shoehorn” other ideologies into Apple’s framework.
I was looking for something which would be reliable as well as easy to manage and use.
“I desperately wanted to be able to plug any device, into any port, in any switch, in any building anywhere around the College campus.”
I was looking for what I understood to be a true “Software Defined Network” solution and began researching various solutions available to me.
Our existing vendor was, unfortunately, failing on Support and Maintenance,
Extreme set up a WiFi POC in three regions (The Library, Secondary Administration, two classrooms) and they were able to demonstrate Extreme gear working reliably in our environment.
Since moving over to Extreme Networks at the end of 2017.
“I can plug any Computer, Telephone, Printer, WiFi Access Point, IP Bell, IP Speaker or Video Camera into any ports on any switches across our network and it will work reliably.”
Extreme Networks competitors had lots of writing on their tins but were either unable or unwilling to demonstrate it working as advertised. Many competitors had software dependencies built-in. (point of failure, a broad highway directly into depths of unfulfilled promises and dreams).
You provided us with a single interface to manage our network, and our see our all our devices to be SDN.
I can only hope that my colleagues have some full functional version of SDN running on their networks, below is a list of what I believe to be some of the advantages of using Extreme.
- Reduced staffing, (I can allocate staff to more useful projects).
- Set and Forget, (very low maintenance however I still do scheduled audits).
- Performance, (can’t remember when last we experience any network issues).
- Return on investment, (feels expensive, but works out cheaper).
Like Apple, the total cost of ownership is low once you factor in performance, ease of use, and continuity.
- Extreme Connect Conference Scottsdale Phoenix Arizona
- Showing off my Extreme Gear: A Visit from Genesis
I choose Schoolbox for the following reasons,
- Firstly, the time was right, our school was ready for a high-end solution.
- Secondly, other schools I trusted spoke highly of Schoolbox.
- Thirdly, I needed our school community and management to invest and be committed, to a single product it was the only way I could ensure we would all follow through on our investment, and ‘boy oh boy’ did they follow through!
Our College has 100% take-up of Schoolbox
After a year and a half later, Schoolbox is used by all the College.
- All of Primary.
- All of Secondary.
- All of Administration.
I’ll admit that Pre-Covid we had about 50% usage and Post-Covid we have 100% usage, and the word on the street is that we are never going back to the “old way” of doing things.
Schoolbox is simple and easy to manage. Please keep it that way.
- Schoolbox Meetup 2019
- SchoolBox has Arrived – 29th April 2019
- Our Schoolbox Executive and Superuser Sessions
- Schoolbox Kick-off Meeting on 1st April 2019
VMWare is one of those products which is easily overlooked because it simply works as advertised.
- We have used VMWare since 2005.
- We have full redundancy and failover onsite in different server rooms.
- VMWARE and VEEAM work seamlessly together.
Amazon Web Services (AWS)
AWS takes care of all my backups, it’s the “Bank!“, where we store all our “stocks and bonds“,
“I just don’t trust hardware”, their little yellow and green light flashing gibberish to me night and day”, and then every now and then they flash orange or red signal to signal that the road ahead is fraught with interruption, pain, suffering and expense.
Since using Amazon, I’m confident that my backups are safe and I don’t much care whether the lights flash orange red green or yellow, so long as I’m not responsible for the changing colour back to green and so long my data is safe as I can gain access to my information speedily.
- Cost-effective backup solution.
- A reliable offsite backup solution.
The proof is in the pudding.
I have proved that I can successfully restore my entire infrastructure from AWS.