question for people working in IT / network admins...

Discussion in 'OT Technology' started by gui3, Nov 18, 2008.

  1. gui3

    gui3 all the dude ever wanted was his rug back

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    i need a bit of advice.

    my father has a business that has approx. 50 workstations in three different locations. there's a central file server and some hacky remote-desktop and VNC file sharing keeping them in touch.

    in his industry, most of the businesses aren't very big, so they don't hire IT staff. they hire consultants who work on a ~$200/hour basis to keep things going. the problem is that the guys he uses (there have been multiple) constantly recommend massive hardware upgrades and STILL the network runs like shit.

    so i want to recommend that he hire a full-time IT staff. someone who's salaried and has nothing to gain by pointless hardware upgrades and actually lives with the network to keep it running.

    do you think that's the right move?
     
  2. 5Gen_Prelude

    5Gen_Prelude There might not be an "I" in the word "Team", but

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    It depends on whether you think his dad would benefit and welcome changes proposed by the IT guy. IT should be about making everything run better/smoother, not just make the network run smoother. It's no different than accountants that have business sense and can give input on the direction of the company based on what he sees in front of him. If he intends to simply point at a problem he sees and expects someone to fix it, you're better off with consultants.
     
  3. DAN513

    DAN513 OT Supporter

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    50 workstations, printers, apps, servers. That sounds like enough work for someone full time.
     
  4. trouphaz

    trouphaz New Member

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    it's tough. if you get a good consultant, then it is much cheaper. if you have your own IT staff, figure it can easily cost over $100k/year if there are benefits involved or anything like that. if having a poorly running network is affecting profits, this can certainly end up paying for itself. if not, it becomes hard to justify.
     
  5. gui3

    gui3 all the dude ever wanted was his rug back

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    well, as an example, i just took a look at three proposals that the consultant sent over.

    a brand new server to replace one that is *maybe* 2 years old, $25,000
    a series of hardware firewalls, $7,000
    a brand new quad-core workstation for someone who does nothing more than type in MS Word and some legal invoice applications - $3,000. this is to replace a machine that "crashed," without any explanation about what exactly crashed, whether it was a hardware failure, etc.

    i think he's trying to take pops to the cleaners.
     
  6. Peyomp

    Peyomp New Member

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    What industry?
     
  7. gui3

    gui3 all the dude ever wanted was his rug back

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    medium-size law firm
     
  8. retorq

    retorq What up bitch??

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    Why not post some more info here and see what some of the guys here think ... a few of us have done stuff like this from time to time.
     
  9. Peyomp

    Peyomp New Member

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    I've done IT for lawfirms before. I can't imagine what would cost so much for a server, other than RAID + backup.

    In terms of filesharing... sounds like a pretty good application for Jungledisk workgroup, actually. Then your attorneys can access their files (which are encrypted by Jungledisk with your own key, as well as Amazon with their stuff) from their notebooks, etc. even out of the office. www.jungledisk.com Its possible the access rules are too complex for this (I doubt it), but again for simple document access you shouldn't need a really beefy server.

    For simple document sharing... why have a fileserver? Let amazon handle it. Backup regularly locally if you feel the need.

    Other than that they need what, email? Again... consider paying to outsource that as well. Plenty of guys will give you enterprise mail for a per-mailbox fee.

    If you have ethernet printers, using those doesn't require a server at all.

    In terms of firewalls... I'm calling all kinds of bullshit. All these guys need is a router box capable of VPN'ing to the other locations and doing NAT. Thats like $200. Buy two and keep a hot-swap around.

    Once the ethernet is gigabit... what is there to do on the network? Hooking 50 computers together isn't rocket science. Basic gigabit switches can handle this. These aren't power users for the most part. Business grade DSL/Cable is fine.
     
  10. gui3

    gui3 all the dude ever wanted was his rug back

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    @peyomp and retorq

    what i said at the top is pretty much the deal.
    they have about 50 workstations, they have a tape backup, and they have network printers and file sharing across the three offices.

    i think their entire file system is about 70GB, but it's obviously growing all the time.

    in terms of a server, they have a billing program that has to crunch numbers for reports...this is a lot of math, since it's generating reports and invoices based on tens of thousands of individual billing stuff, and it's all handled server-side. other than that, it's MS Word and the occasional employee who spends too much time on youtube. this is precisely why a $3000 quad-core workstation sounds ridiculous to me.

    he needs an admin that can deal with day-to-day problems, work out the simplest possible solution - in line with Peyomp's approach - and advise on hardware upgrades....without spending $200/hour for someone who will recommend massive hardware changes without following through.
     
  11. RyanL

    RyanL OT Supporter

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    you could go with a managed it services company as well... as long as you find a good one... thats what I do right now, we actually do a lot of work with law firms of that size

    it works out great because they only need to pay when it work is being done and if the shit hits the fan you have multiple techs that can do the work vs 1 it person

    if you're in the twin cities ill give you a hell of a deal :x:
     
  12. Peyomp

    Peyomp New Member

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    I would outsource whatever you can, and buy as a service. Don't run your own email. Don't host your own website. Do as little in house as possible.

    But yeah, for a 50 employee company... there's no reason not to hire a $40K a year IT monkey. Just keep shit as simple as possible and do as little as possible.
     
  13. dorkultra

    dorkultra OT's resident crohns dude OT Supporter

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    seriously, you could totally get someone in there for $40k. doesn't seem like a huge job
     
  14. Peyomp

    Peyomp New Member

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    Especially given how much billable time you are losing when lawyers can't bill hours because they can't access documents.
     
  15. RyanL

    RyanL OT Supporter

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    :werd: i feel bad charging someone 100/hour to sit on the phone for tech support when i know they could do it... but then I remember they make 300/hour... doesn't seem so bad then :hsugh:
     
  16. gui3

    gui3 all the dude ever wanted was his rug back

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    this is all very helpful. thanks broze.

    i think $40k a year would be a steal, especially if the guy could get really savvy with the legal billing shit.
     
  17. Peyomp

    Peyomp New Member

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    He won't know the legal billing shit, but you can get a smart young one that will learn it.
     
  18. johan

    johan Active Member

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    What is the real problem you're trying to solve?

    Because 50 nodes, a few servers and 3 locations...that's really peanuts.

    Is that really worth having a FT guy hanging around?

    The only thing you'd really be getting is better response time to issues because the guy is theoretically always there.

    Also consider that unless you're paying well, you probably won't be getting top calibre talent.

    Your in-house guy may make mistakes as bad or worse than your present contractor.

    And then too, depending on his experience and judgement, you may be led down a certain design path which is poorly thought-out, poorly planned or poorly executed.

    The problem you describe isn't that however, its dissatisfaction with the performance of your infrastructure.



    I would recommend that you consider getting a better systems consultant to deal with your issues rather than bringing on an FTE, especially a junior FTE.

    $200/hr isn't that much unless he's spending multiple days/weeks onsite at a time.

    Which, for your size of installation, also suggests to me that he doesn't really know what he's doing. So combine that with the number of billable hours you're seeing from this guy, to help gauge workload.

    But personally, I wouldn't do it.
     
  19. Peyomp

    Peyomp New Member

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    Wazzup johan!
     
  20. TomDlgns

    TomDlgns OT Supporter

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    explain this post to me...

    if you had an in house IT guy, would you want him to learn how to operate the program? so he could be a fill in if anyone is sick?

    or do you just want him to know how the billing software works on the server?
     
  21. TomDlgns

    TomDlgns OT Supporter

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    we have about 30 computers in our main office, 2 servers, and some networking hardware.

    we also have 3 remote offices that each have 2-5 computers and a VPN connection back to our main office.

    we also have 8 fleet vehicles and each vehicle has 2-3 computers on it. Along with radios, GPS, some other electronics.

    i am the only IT guy on staff, but i dont think my boss would benefit from having a consultant.

    i think the only reason my boss wants an in house IT guy is because our company is 24/7 365 and our fleet vehicles have trouble more than anyone in the offices.

    i will admit, if we didn't have the fleet to take care of, i would try to get my boss to hire me as a consultant.
     
  22. TomDlgns

    TomDlgns OT Supporter

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    one other thing that i would like to add...some bosses can be a PITA. part of my job is to make sure our hardware is up to date and functioning properly.

    with that being said, i have to go over all my purchases with my boss. my boss is one of those people that does NOT want to upgrade or swap anything out until it breaks. i have been here for over 3 years and i wanted to get new servers about a year and a half ago, but he keeps telling me to hold off on it.

    also, nothing is worse than a boss that wants to know everything, but doesn't have any knowledge about IT/Servers.
     
  23. TomDlgns

    TomDlgns OT Supporter

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    i agree with this as well.
     
  24. trouphaz

    trouphaz New Member

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    it sounds like your dad needs to get someone who knows what they are doing and who he trusts to either do the work or to help him review what the other asshats are selling him. this current plan sounds like BS pulled by someone who knows your dad's people don't know any better.
     
  25. thinkhard

    thinkhard OT Supporter

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    I work for a small firm. We've hired a company to take of all or IT and other computer needs. We pay them by the hour. Most of the work is done remotely so it is a cheaper hourly rate. They only come to the office it something is really fucked and I actually have never seen them come to the office.

    If this firm is in or around a large city, I am sure that there are companies that provide a service like this.
     

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