[SATLUG] OT: Ratio of IT Staff to Employees

Ernest De Leon edeleonjr at gmail.com
Sun Jan 13 04:53:07 CST 2008

With 15 servers and ~1TB of data, one server admin is good enough if you do
not have to worry about desktop/laptop duty.  Since you are using an all
windows platform with AD integration, SCOM or even MOM (2005) would be your
best bet to pro actively monitor all of the servers.  There are management
packs for Dell open manage software as well so that you can keep tabs on
hardware that doesn't show errors in the event logs (such as PERC
controllers.)  I suppose the challenge for you is to make management
understand the dividing line behind server side and user side
administration, and have them properly staff each side.  I'm sad to hear
that the consultant ditched VMWare as it is a very powerful tool that I use
exclusively in most of my enterprise infrastructure projects.  Normally, 125
users only warrants one full time desktop support person, but since you are
a multi-site business, I would recommend two.  That would be three full time
IT staff total.  You should also train one of the desktop people to handle
routing server admin tasks like managing backup tapes and/or routine AD
management tasks.  This will give them something to do if there is a slow
day on the desktop side, but more importantly give you breathing room for
vacation.  Utilizing tools like Symantec Backup Exec will also help reduce
the amount of daily tasks you have to deal with.  With system
administration, automation is key.  The less you have to do on a daily
basis, the better off you will be to handle small emergencies that will pop
up.  SCOM/MOM will allow you to keep a vigilant eye over the health of your
entire organization from a single station.  Naturally there are other small
things you can do to help you out, but those would vary depending on the
exact setup you have and the daily operations of your business.  Hope that


On Jan 13, 2008 1:23 AM, Eric Haugen <erichaugen at gmail.com> wrote:

> On Jan 13, 2008 2:45 AM, Ernest De Leon <edeleonjr at gmail.com> wrote:
> > I have worked in shops where the ratio was 50:1 and shops where the
> ratio
> > was 750:1.  It all depends on the size and needs of your business.  I
> can
> > tell you that any business with only 1 full time IT person better be 50
> or
> > less people.  How many servers are you supporting?
> 15
> >  How many operating systems?
> 1
> > How many desktops?
> Approx  200 Desktops About 25 Laptops & Adding about 125 a/o 03/2009
>  Is your concern that you need more desktop support or more back end
> server
> > admins?
> Desktop.  Freeing me to focus on the server level obligations.
> >  Do you have a lot of backups?
> All together 1TB worth, but growing by about a gig a day.
> >  All
> > of these things will contribute to your cause.  A lot of the consulting
> I
> > do
> > in the bay area deals with companies that are short on IT staff.
> >  Sometimes
> > the problem stems from the fact that the overall IT budget is too small,
> > but
> > supplemental budgets (outside contractor pay or legal counsel for
> example)
> > often come out of a different 'pool' of money.  Sometimes, this the only
> > flexibility and IT manager has, and they hire consultants.  Being that
> you
> > are a multi-site business, I would say that you should at least have 2-3
> > full time staff to allow for travel to remote sites.  Furthermore, you
> > should have dedicated front end support for the desktops and dedicated
> > back
> > end support for the servers.  It doesn't hurt to have consultants handle
> > all
> > of the new projects (that's mainly what I do) so long as the knowledge
> > transfer thorough and written into the contract.  This frees up admins
> to
> > work on day to day functions while the consultants handle the rest.
> >  Usually
> > IT managers hire consultants that are well versed in the areas that the
> > new
> > projects will be in.  This allows the project to be completed faster and
> > takes up less internal man hours.  To give you a fair assessment of how
> > many
> > staff your organization should have, I would need to know the answers to
> > the
> > above questions.  Some additional answers that would be helpful are: Are
> > you using active directory?
> Yes
> are you supporting virtualization (e.g. VMWare)?
> We got VMWare ESX server and a ballsy Dell 2900 with 16GB ram. Consultant
> decided to kill the project.
> > What additional technologies are you using (i.e. SAN/NAS, Switched
> > Fibre, iSCSI,)?
> A SAN would have been part of the above project but we do have 2 NASs
> primarily used as a D2D backup, all buildings are connected by fiber, 3
> T1s,
> we handle the entire VOIP phone system (about 280 decives), about 32
> blackberries.
> > What management software do you have in place (i.e. SCOM,
> > Foglight)?
> None.  What would you recommend?
> >  Are you supporting a large infrastructure of any kind (be it web
> > server farm, DB farm, etc.)?
> No
> > Do you actively support or interact with
> > developers?
> If you mean software vendor developers, yes, to a small extent.
> > What type of maintenance agreements do you have in place on
> > your hardware, or are you responsible for replacing parts, etc.?
> Dell. 4hr on servers & NBD for workstations
> <--Snip-->
> Thanks Ernest!
> - Eric
> --
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