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Number of FTEs

By maria ·
We have a Cisco based network with about with about 20,000 active ports and about 1,000 switches/routers that we need to maintain. I'm looking for information that identifies the number of FTEs needed to maintain and manage a network this size.


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by timwalsh In reply to Number of FTEs

I'm assuming FTE stands for Full Time Employee.

Unfortunately, there is no magic formula (or even a good rule of thumb) that will tell you that you need XX number of technicians to handle a network of X size.

You will probably get all sorts of advice from other people telling you what works in their organization. The key is that it works in THEIR organization. That probably will not translate to mean it will work in yours.

Are we talking strictly network technicians, or strictly Cisco-qualified technicians, or an entire IT department?

There are too many variables to be able to giv any (semi-) definitive answer:

Network support-related:
Age of infrastructure (wiring)
Age of equipment
Numbers of different makes/models of equipment
Skill/experience of technicians

Network administration-related:
Number of user accounts
How often accounts change
How often accounts are added/deleted
How often account passwords change
How often passwords need to be reset

Help Desk (hardware) support-related:
Age of deployed equipment
Condition of deployed equipment
Number of different platforms
Are proprietary (or in-house built) platforms being used
Skills and experience of hardware techs

Help Desk (software) support-related:
Number of different operating systems supported
Number of other applications supported
Complexity of applications
Skill and experience of users
Use of proprietary software
Skill and experience of software techs

Since you work for an educational institution, I'm assuming you are not trying to build a support organization from scratch.

Your primary clues as to whether you have too many or not enough, is your work backlog and the amount of idle time your present employees have. If you have an enormous backlog, and it continues to grow, that is an indicator that you need more help. On the other hand if you have technicians that spent a lot of time playing computer games, you probably have too many people. You have to be careful here, because a snapshot in time will not give you an accurate answer. You need to watch these things over time. Also realize that if some techs are always idle and others never seem to catch up with their work load, you might not have the right mix of the right skills.

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