Print Story Things Every Small Business Needs to Know in IT
Diary
By blixco (Tue Sep 04, 2007 at 04:12:36 AM EST) (all tags)
A handy list, things that are good to know if you need to have a successful small business.


  1. Do not buy Celeros products.  Support is some guys in a room in California, 5 days a week (on weekends you get to talk to the guy via skype at his home, kids screaming in the background).  Development is in Poland. Bonus: they are cheap, run on Debian.  Fail: no console access, limited troubleshooting tools, no decent support, include "features" that are data destructive career-enders.
  2. If you need UNIX and Windows servers, use a UNIX that you can either code yourself (meaning, you're not a sys admin but more a developer) or buy a product that has support.
  3. If you're using both Windows and UNIX servers, you will want to avoid Symantec Backup Exec and go with a backup solution that actually does work.
  4. The bare minimum skills needed in your IT department at any given moment (24 hours a day, 7 days a week): storage guys (people who know storage to the lowest levels), management, networking folks (who can re-configure all of your networking devices on the fly), OS folks (if you're using a home-built OS, you need guys that can write the OS), tech support for the desktop users, an email and messaging administrator, an applications admin, and someone who can keep track of licensing.
  5. If all of #4 are the same guy, you are in big, big trouble.
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Things Every Small Business Needs to Know in IT | 41 comments (41 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
Celeros and Dell must work together. by me0w (4.00 / 2) #1 Tue Sep 04, 2007 at 04:24:26 AM EST
I am learning that Dell support is absolute shite.

Bunch of cuntarse dillholes.


"the only reason we PMS is because our uterus is screaming at our brain to go out, get fucked, and have a baby ... and it makes us angry."

#HUG# You survived? Or is this post by greyrat (4.00 / 1) #2 Tue Sep 04, 2007 at 04:26:29 AM EST
your swan song?

#6 by Breaker (4.00 / 4) #3 Tue Sep 04, 2007 at 04:35:52 AM EST
Change Control Manager.


I would go further by Herring (4.00 / 7) #6 Tue Sep 04, 2007 at 05:09:50 AM EST
Change all the managers.

christ, we're all old now - StackyMcRacky
[ Parent ]
I'm sorry by komet (4.00 / 3) #4 Tue Sep 04, 2007 at 04:37:26 AM EST
I don't accept that points 4 and 5 together are true for a small business. Medium to large, yes.

--
<ni> komet: You are functionally illiterate as regards trashy erotica.
Define small. by blixco (4.00 / 1) #22 Tue Sep 04, 2007 at 02:56:39 PM EST
Apparently I think small is medium.  Or something.

I've worked for large companies (50k people) and small companies (six people) but I think 100 people still == small business.
---------------------------------
"You bring the weasel, I'll bring the whiskey." - kellnerin

[ Parent ]
The SBA by ad hoc (4.00 / 1) #23 Tue Sep 04, 2007 at 03:05:56 PM EST
defines "small" as 500 employees or less. Or fewer. One of those.
--

[ Parent ]
That sounds right. by blixco (4.00 / 1) #24 Tue Sep 04, 2007 at 03:34:09 PM EST
We're at 102 people, with 5TB of data total.
---------------------------------
"You bring the weasel, I'll bring the whiskey." - kellnerin
[ Parent ]
Wassup? by thunderbee (4.00 / 1) #5 Tue Sep 04, 2007 at 05:03:06 AM EST
Status on the metadata recovery?

I disagree with #2 (but that's not a surprise ;)

For #3: essential files should be in triplicate: production data, backup (live replicated plus daily if possible), off-site backup. Less than that it's begging for trouble.

As for #5, it's ok that it's one single person IF (big if) there are two of those. Meaning it's ok that one person has all those skills, but he needs a backup.

For any company, it should be pretty obvious: what happens if a guy dies in a car crash? Does your company go with him? If the answer is yes, it also means that the guy can't take vacations, or ever be far from the office. This is bad. Recipe for disaster one way or another.

#2 by Merekat (4.00 / 4) #7 Tue Sep 04, 2007 at 05:12:15 AM EST
Definitely has race conditions. I will agree that a pointy-clicky-sysadmin will not suffice and in that sense, yes you do need someone closer to a developer than an admin.

What I definitely disagree with is that a support contract for your OS will necessarily help. Unless it is some form of platinum service, days of pointless phonecalls to a series of blokes in a different timezone who keep losing the case history, willfully or gormlessly misunderstanding and then telling you incorrectly that either it is not supported or you have to upgrade before he'll even talk to you won't make yer blood pressure any lower.

Small companies generally cannot/will not pay for the level of support they require.

[ Parent ]
I agree about the OS support by jimgon (4.00 / 1) #10 Tue Sep 04, 2007 at 08:09:47 AM EST
Seen it happen  regularly.  Regardless how important you think your company is it gets prioritized with  everyone else, and the  prioritization tends to have a dollar value associated with it.  Your support will vary, but  will always be in direct relation to how much money you spend with the vendor.




---------------
Technician - "We can't even get decent physical health care. Mental health is like witchcraft here."
[ Parent ]
I'd pay. by blixco (4.00 / 1) #12 Tue Sep 04, 2007 at 08:29:10 AM EST
I would, if there was anyone to pay.
---------------------------------
"You bring the weasel, I'll bring the whiskey." - kellnerin
[ Parent ]
Actually there is by thunderbee (4.00 / 1) #14 Tue Sep 04, 2007 at 10:10:57 AM EST
It's kind of my job. Except I don't know jack shit about your problem (iScsi), but I otherwise design and build systems based on debian. And provide support.
Thing is however, I only sell (and maintain) what I have tested and installed.
There are some pieces of software that may not be up to par. It's my job to find out which and to avoid them.
On the other hand, once properly built, these things last forever.

There might be people who have a good first-hand knowledge of iScsi and might help you in exchange for money.

[ Parent ]
This is the crux of the problem by jimgon (4.00 / 1) #15 Tue Sep 04, 2007 at 11:22:41 AM EST
Unless you spend it on a consistent basis you don't count.  I worked somewhere  where they were a largish company and thought that  they could  throw their weight.  Well, yeah, they could throw their weight, but their weight was 0.025% of the vendor's yearly sales year over year.  Once every ten years they would spend a slightly higher  fraction, but it was too little too seldom.




---------------
Technician - "We can't even get decent physical health care. Mental health is like witchcraft here."
[ Parent ]
I'm very glad to see you're still alive. by toxicfur (4.00 / 3) #8 Tue Sep 04, 2007 at 06:19:25 AM EST
Er, unless you wrote a script to post this....

Seriously, take care of yourself, dude, and I owe you a drink.
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If you don't get a Bonnie, my universe will not make sense. --blixco

For a small business by sasquatchan (4.00 / 3) #9 Tue Sep 04, 2007 at 07:11:20 AM EST
I'd say it may not be cheaper, but it is far, far, easier to contract our/outsource a lot of that work.

I mean, WTF is a small company (can quibble over what a small company means) doing running their own mail server ? Bitch, Please. There are plenty of folks out there that'll do mail hosting. Running just an mailbox can be a one man, full time, PITA job. Don't even get me started on running your own web server.

Google Apps by chuckles (2.00 / 0) #27 Tue Sep 04, 2007 at 07:46:54 PM EST
For $50 per user per year Google's small army of bottom-caste Hindoo street urchins will operate the bellows that keep your company's Intertubes flowing, so your sysadmin can concentrate on his/her core incompetencies.

"The one absolutely certain way of bringing this nation to ruin [...] would be to permit it to become a tangle of squabbling nationalities"
[ Parent ]
some guys in a room in California by jimgon (4.00 / 2) #11 Tue Sep 04, 2007 at 08:12:18 AM EST
I worked at a place that  used a service  where the support was a guy living in New Jersey.   The S/OX auditors visited him to review his data security, and discovered that the whole operation was being  run out of servers in his garage.




---------------
Technician - "We can't even get decent physical health care. Mental health is like witchcraft here."
Wrong on all points by theboz (4.00 / 1) #13 Tue Sep 04, 2007 at 09:49:08 AM EST
If you are a small business, you should not be running your own I.T. infrastructure, unless that is your core business. Small businesses should outsource all of that to professionals so they don't have to worry about it. The same goes for accounting, billing, etc.
- - - - -
That's what I always say about you, boz, you have a good memory for random facts about pussy. -- joh3n
What about the business itself? by blixco (4.00 / 1) #16 Tue Sep 04, 2007 at 11:25:57 AM EST
Should it be outsourced to professionals as well?
---------------------------------
"You bring the weasel, I'll bring the whiskey." - kellnerin
[ Parent ]
Depends by theboz (4.00 / 1) #17 Tue Sep 04, 2007 at 12:51:08 PM EST
Seriously though, if your business is something like owning a few restaurants or building furniture to sell in a small place in a strip mall, you really can't justify having any actual I.T. jobs. Perhaps your definition of small business is different than mine, but if you only have about a dozen employees, it doesn't make sense to have an I.T. infrastructure. Hire a company to maintain all that for you.
- - - - -
That's what I always say about you, boz, you have a good memory for random facts about pussy. -- joh3n
[ Parent ]
Small = up to 150 employees. by blixco (2.00 / 0) #21 Tue Sep 04, 2007 at 02:54:48 PM EST
Medium is 150 to 5000.  Large is 5000 to maybe 10k, and GIGANTIC is, like, 10k to China.
---------------------------------
"You bring the weasel, I'll bring the whiskey." - kellnerin
[ Parent ]
Still may not justify an I.T. department by theboz (2.00 / 0) #32 Wed Sep 05, 2007 at 05:27:06 AM EST
If you have 149 employees and you are a taxi cab company, you're better off paying for more dispatchers and drivers than you are having I.T. guys. If you are a company that works heavily with computers for some reason, then it might make sense. However, I see plenty of good reasons for outsourcing a lot of stuff (note that outsourcing means hiring another company to do the work for you, while offshoring means sending the jobs to another country, because a lot of people confuse the two.) If you are a small company that can't afford to hire 1 network admin, 1 dba, 3 developers, 3 system administrators, 1 desktop support person, at least 1 manager, you're going to be in trouble. Let's say that the average salary is $70k a year between all of those jobs. That's $700,000/year in salaries alone. Then you have to factor in desk space for 10 people, you have to factor in benefits, also the costs of their hardware and software. You can easily spend over a million a year just having a tiny I.T. staff. Too many companies have an I.T. team that are too small to justify it. Since I.T. is not a cost benefit to most companies and are classified as operating expenses, it just doesn't make sense to have I.T. staff if you don't need it and can get all those services done cheaper and easier by outsourcing it to companies that specialize in operating I.T. infrastructures. That in turn creates good I.T. jobs for people that want to focus on their technical work rather than being caught up in office politics and stupid requests from users. In many outsourcing models, the customer company has to pay extra to the outsourcing company for certain types of requests, such as restoring files from a backup, which sometimes leads to the customer company making sure their users aren't making too many frivolous requests.
- - - - -
That's what I always say about you, boz, you have a good memory for random facts about pussy. -- joh3n
[ Parent ]
Well, by blixco (2.00 / 0) #33 Wed Sep 05, 2007 at 06:30:26 AM EST
I can see what you're saying.  But you're wrong.

And in our case, we're all about our systems and our data.  Some of it is classified, all of it is sensitive, so there's no outsourcing here.  I can't park my data outside the walls, either, which means I get to have a mail server and terabytes of data.
---------------------------------
"You bring the weasel, I'll bring the whiskey." - kellnerin

[ Parent ]
You work for an I.T. company by theboz (2.00 / 0) #34 Wed Sep 05, 2007 at 07:23:00 AM EST
I don't think that I.T. companies account for a majority of small businesses. In fact, since your company does government work, you are an outsourcing firm the government uses.
- - - - -
That's what I always say about you, boz, you have a good memory for random facts about pussy. -- joh3n
[ Parent ]
Sort of. by blixco (2.00 / 0) #35 Wed Sep 05, 2007 at 07:31:43 AM EST
We're not an IT company.  We produce a product that the government uses (hardware and software).

I've worked for small shop that did IT work for small companies.  It totally makes sense.  I just felt like being a jerk, since I haven't slept in a few days.
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"You bring the weasel, I'll bring the whiskey." - kellnerin

[ Parent ]
You're not the only one by theboz (4.00 / 1) #36 Wed Sep 05, 2007 at 09:02:48 AM EST
I just felt like being a jerk, since I haven't slept in a few days.
There are some things I'd like to complain about, but I won't because I don't know who might read it.
- - - - -
That's what I always say about you, boz, you have a good memory for random facts about pussy. -- joh3n
[ Parent ]
I am a small business by glamorgan (4.00 / 2) #18 Tue Sep 04, 2007 at 01:19:12 PM EST
that runs other companies IT infrastructure.  See, the time I spend managing my infrastructure is time I can't bill to my clients.  This is bad.  My hourly rate is much higher than the cost of outsourcing email, web, and file hosting.  Therefore I outsource all of it.

Simple math.

[ Parent ]
What kind of small business... by 606 (2.00 / 0) #19 Tue Sep 04, 2007 at 01:47:09 PM EST
has 384 Gb of live data to maintain? I mean... really. That's approaching big business, or at the least highly IT-intensive business.

-----
imagine dancing banana here
Five terabytes. by blixco (4.00 / 1) #20 Tue Sep 04, 2007 at 02:53:20 PM EST
I keep telling them that our data requirements are "enterprise" class, especially the amount we push and change over a week.  Maybe now....
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"You bring the weasel, I'll bring the whiskey." - kellnerin
[ Parent ]
Jesus christ... by 606 (4.00 / 1) #26 Tue Sep 04, 2007 at 07:29:01 PM EST
At work we have about 6 years of 10-second resolution 24/7 data recordings for hundreds of data parameters as well as two kinds of daily reports coming in from over two thousand oil drilling rigs in the US and Canada....

and that's less than 5-6 Tb. Total.


-----
imagine dancing banana here

[ Parent ]
With our PC by blixco (4.00 / 1) #29 Tue Sep 04, 2007 at 08:35:31 PM EST
filesystems, we're at roughly 15TB for the site.  The SAN will need to have 10TB by the end of the year, and we'll need to upgrade it to 10GB/sec to keep up.

It's a large amount of flat files.
---------------------------------
"You bring the weasel, I'll bring the whiskey." - kellnerin

[ Parent ]
What do you guys do to generate all that data? by chuckles (4.00 / 1) #30 Tue Sep 04, 2007 at 08:47:49 PM EST
If you're a pr0n-hosting company and you're embarrassed to admit it, just say your company does "multimedia distribution".

"The one absolutely certain way of bringing this nation to ruin [...] would be to permit it to become a tangle of squabbling nationalities"
[ Parent ]
We do government work. by blixco (2.00 / 0) #31 Wed Sep 05, 2007 at 03:47:05 AM EST
Communications stuff.
---------------------------------
"You bring the weasel, I'll bring the whiskey." - kellnerin
[ Parent ]
... by 606 (4.00 / 1) #37 Wed Sep 05, 2007 at 06:42:49 PM EST
I read that as: "we have a log of all your phone traffic for the CIA". Not good.

-----
imagine dancing banana here
[ Parent ]
Nothing that sinister, by blixco (2.00 / 0) #38 Wed Sep 05, 2007 at 07:16:36 PM EST
and we're DoD, not CIA.
---------------------------------
"You bring the weasel, I'll bring the whiskey." - kellnerin
[ Parent ]
I need some parts for a SINCGARS radio. by chuckles (4.00 / 1) #39 Wed Sep 05, 2007 at 09:13:22 PM EST

Think you could hook me up "on the down low"?



Note to members of the law enforcement community: I am kidding. There is no need to kick down my door in the middle of the night.



"The one absolutely certain way of bringing this nation to ruin [...] would be to permit it to become a tangle of squabbling nationalities"
[ Parent ]
You wouldn't believe by blixco (2.00 / 0) #40 Thu Sep 06, 2007 at 04:15:08 AM EST
what sorts of radio gear our RF geeks have access to.  One guy has a $10k radio set sitting on his desk next to his $.25 laptop.
---------------------------------
"You bring the weasel, I'll bring the whiskey." - kellnerin
[ Parent ]
Oh, and, by blixco (2.00 / 0) #41 Thu Sep 06, 2007 at 04:17:19 AM EST
we have four of those in our lab.  The keys may not be in them, though.
---------------------------------
"You bring the weasel, I'll bring the whiskey." - kellnerin
[ Parent ]
i read nick your list by LilFlightTest (4.00 / 2) #25 Tue Sep 04, 2007 at 06:06:21 PM EST
when i got to #5, he waved.
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if de-virgination results in me being able to birth hammerhead sharks, SIGN ME UP!!! --misslake
Their name is one character away from 'Celeron' by chuckles (4.00 / 1) #28 Tue Sep 04, 2007 at 07:50:55 PM EST
WTF were you thinking?

"The one absolutely certain way of bringing this nation to ruin [...] would be to permit it to become a tangle of squabbling nationalities"
Things Every Small Business Needs to Know in IT | 41 comments (41 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback