[unisog] server-to-admin stat?

Valdis.Kletnieks at vt.edu Valdis.Kletnieks at vt.edu
Thu Sep 18 01:58:32 GMT 2003

On Wed, 17 Sep 2003 17:19:30 EDT, Jennifer Luisi <jlui at ats.rochester.edu>  said:

> I've recently been asked to generate some stats as to the
> server-to-administrator ratio at higher ed institutions.  I know that this
> can vary widely by department, machine type, etc, but any numbers (or
> educated guesses) you might have would be much appreciated.

We've got a single E10K that takes more manpower than we're estimating
an 1,100 node cluster will take.  As a general rule, our largest critical boxes
have 2-5 people doing them, other medium-impact boxes like backup servers
have their own person, and then anywhere from 4-10 "small" boxes per admin
for small stuff that doesn't require much feeding (NTP servers, print servers,
etc...)  In a number of cases, we've got systems that are deployed across a
cluster of 4-8 1U Linux boxes (for load sharing, failover, or what have you),
and we handwave the aggregate of boxes as "one medium box").

That's for the main computing center. The departments of course have different
ratios, because their admin time is much more desktop-support heavy - so you
may find an admin who's got a lab of 75 machines and then 20 professors offices
to support as well.  On the flip side, all 100 machines are somewhat generic
desktops, and the university as a whole doesn't come to a screeching halt if
one dies (no matter *WHAT* that Very Important Professor claims ;)

Another important consideration is the average skill level - I've been here for
almost 15 years, and am actually in the *bottom* half of the seniority pool for
the 25 or so sysadmins.  As a result, we often do things that require the
official Dave Barry "Do not try this at home - professional stunt idiot"
warning (Randy knows what I mean - Hi Randy!), and would NOT recommend our
business model to a site that's got a lot of junior-level people with 2-3 years

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