dangers of teaching programming

In a limited use school computer lab that runs various paid licensed industrial design softwares, another dept says they want to run a programming class.   This will involve software such as Netbeans, a free Oracle product, and others I do not know yet.     Teaching programming in a lab designed for it is one thing, but this lab is fairly specialized, with its own AD, server, logins, mapped drives, links to licenses, etc.  

Students will be late teens and up, out of hs.  Some will be pretty sharp.  
Thoughts please

 thank you.
JerryC101Asked:
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arnoldCommented:
You covered the risks of granting access to specialized equipment.
Your question should be what risks are poised when granting access to specialized resources.
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dpearsonCommented:
I don't think there's much "risk" unless you're concerned that they will mess up the machines in some way.

If that's the concern - seems easy enough to just create a snapshot of the current machine state and be ready to restore back to that if necessary.

Beyond that - the fact that there's other licensed software on the machine doesn't create a risk.  If they happened to use that software it doesn't violate the license and since presumably you can only use the licensed software when on those particular machines, it's also not preventing anyone else from using it.

Seems to me like you can come up with a reasonable way to run this programming class.

Doug
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Julian HansenCommented:
There are two factors to consider

a) How mission critical is the equipment in the lab
b) What is the cost of downtime

For me it comes down to accountability - if something goes wrong with the infrastructure in the lab

a) Who takes responsibility for it
b) Who fixes it
c) Who pays

If the equipment is not mission critical and fixing it is a non issue then re-using resources makes sense. Other than that you have to make a call based on the above and the specifics of your organisation.
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phoffricCommented:
If you limit the permissions/privileges of this other programming class to their own partition and access to just their own programs, and provide them with access only through virtual servers, then wouldn't that suffice to protect your main core solutions?
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JerryC101Author Commented:
If that's the concern - seems easy enough to just create a snapshot of the current machine state and be ready to restore back to that if necessary.
Some of the licenses are unique to each machine, so imaging is not a practical option.  

a) How mission critical is the equipment in the lab
b) What is the cost of downtime

a. Very
b. some costs, in time and money

For me it comes down to accountability - if something goes wrong with the infrastructure in the lab
a) Who takes responsibility for it
b) Who fixes it
c) Who pays

a. No one/I get blamed
b. me
c. yeah um....

If you limit the permissions/privileges of this other programming class to their own partition and access to just their own programs, and provide them with access only through virtual servers, then wouldn't that suffice to protect your main core solutions?

This seems a good way to go, but I do not have time to set up VM's.   It'd be a challenge to get their own login, at this point, as class has started.  

Interesting comments all, Thanks!
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arnoldCommented:
As said, someoewillalways find things for you to be responsible for.

Is your setup virtual?

unfortunately in the case where ... Outside your control, the only thing you should make sure that you have good backups/images of the systems being used.
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phoffricCommented:
>>  It'd be a challenge to get their own login
Are you talking just about in a VM?

I hope you have a separate account for each person associated with the other department.
Assuming that, then at least you should be able to limit their roles and give them access to just what they need and keep the rest of your domain out of their reach.
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phoffricCommented:
>> Some of the licenses are unique to each machine, so imaging is not a practical option.  
Even if there was no issue with the other department, you obviously need a backup solution of some sort. When our node-locked licenses were on a machine that broke, then we just called the companies, explained the situation, and got a new license for no additional cost.
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JerryC101Author Commented:
Hmm;  well I was in the middle of moving from server03 to server 12, with incorporating new backups. so this has interfered with that.  No one told me this class was even happening.    

The comment that separate logins, no, there isn't time/pay for me to set that  up.   But I can make a separate profile to cope with some access issues.     That is a good one, an idea that's obvious but I overlooked.  Thanks!
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phoffricCommented:
You are in a tough position. I wish you luck!

Today, I learned something interesting about one of our floating licenses. I complained about a 2 second compilation sometimes taking 2 minutes, waiting for it to kick in. Turns out that one of the machines holding the licenses had broken. Contrary to what had been my experience has been with other products, they went to the vendor to get the licenses transferred to new servers. They were told that even though their previous licenses were working for years, the license was only good for a year,  and since they never renewed the license for many years, the many old lost licenses were not transferable. As a result, we have maybe two floating licenses (and someone thought there was only one).

Just one more thing to check up on.
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