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staffing a 30-computer network???

By hesperiano ·
Hi.

I'm the network administrator at a small (30-person) non-profit. My boss and I are creating a technology plan, which includes finding the answer to the question: How much staff time does it take to administer a 30-computer network.

I realize most of you are dealing with much larger networks, but I was hoping to gain some insight. We're currently running an NT network, with three servers (file, accounting & database), 25 PCs and 3 Macs. We're on DSL with Netopia router w/ built-in firewall; we don't host our website or our email, and currently we purchase all of our computers from Dell.

I spend about 30% of my time administering the network, due largely to the low-level of technical literacy on staff. I'd like to start thinkingabout hosting our own website and email, setting up VPNs and building our own computers, to name a few.

What has been your experience staffing small networks?

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staffing a 30-computer network???

by SpiderErrol In reply to staffing a 30-computer ne ...

In my experiance, the addition of website and email hosting will boost up your administration time to 50-60% if you stay vigilant and ensure all systems are up todate. (Assuming 1 web server running IIS and 1 Exchange server).

You can reduce it in the short term by not keeping on top of security, but it will bite back later. - It's not a place you would enjoy being and a mail and web server are a nice hacker's target if not properly maintained.

VPNs will create aditional user support. (~1% per user). But that estimate is base on having Linux services to handle the VPN. I have never had to try it on an NT server.

Building you own computers is probably asking for trouble. With prebuilt ones such as dell they know the components thatwork and if things do go wrong the have the resources and engineers to correct it. We had many problems with home built computers, and decided that the time spent diagnosing, repairing and replacing parts far outweighed the cost saving from a pre-built machine.

If you do go with self build machines, keep it simple, find a set of components and a supplier that works for you. Refuse to give anyone anything extra (eg Don't let them buy a USB CD burner and complain when their machines break for "no reason" a bit later).

FYI: I admin a 15 user office network and an ~500 user ISP. The company I work for also does support and administration for other small networks (varying between 2 and 100 people, but mainly arround the 25 mark). We have a mix of NT, Novell, and Linux systems. My estimates are besed on our own network as well as those of customers.

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staffing a 30-computer network???

by SpiderErrol In reply to staffing a 30-computer ne ...

30% is a good average for your current network, although it can vary quite a lot based on your experiance and familiarity with the relevent software and OSs.

A dedicated IT person who is also managing several similar sites can reduce this down to10% or less, as he will simply be replicating effort and just repeats what he has already done. Also he will have heard all the user's problems before and know most solutions off the cuff.

On the other hand, an Accountant who has been forced intothe IT position on the basis that he can touch type will easily find the time spent spirarling out of control.

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staffing a 30-computer network???

by hesperiano In reply to staffing a 30-computer ne ...

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staffing a 30-computer network???

by hesperiano In reply to staffing a 30-computer ne ...

thanks so much for your insight! does 30% time sound about right in this case?

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staffing a 30-computer network???

by Jayanth In reply to staffing a 30-computer ne ...

Hi,
As mentioned by you, ~30% of your time is spent administering your network, largely due to user ignorance. By adding Web and Mail services into your network, you level and time of admin tasks is bound to go up. You will need to keep track of the latest configs for both, security fixes/patches for both, backup/restore strategies for both and not to forget occassional fights with your Users and Viruses. Addition of VPN and providing VPN connectivity to your users shall increase more burden on you. So I would assume that around 70% of your time would be consumed in admin tasks. This is based on a personal experience of mine, wherein I managed a network of 30 users with a web server and an MS Exchange Mail server.
One idea would be to teach your users about trivial computer tasks and how to go about them, without involving you.

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staffing a 30-computer network???

by hesperiano In reply to staffing a 30-computer ne ...

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staffing a 30-computer network???

by hesperiano In reply to staffing a 30-computer ne ...

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