2nd summary on admin links

From: McIntire, John (JMcIntire@NaviPath.com)
Date: Thu Jul 13 2000 - 09:32:02 CDT

Don't know if this got sent correctly the 1st time, so here is again.
Thanks again to all who helped


We are based on 1 admin per 100 w/stations.
I think this is highly dependent on the configuration. It may take a single
person to run an E10K. The same person may be able to run 50 Ultra5
machines. Or it may take 3 people to run 50 Ultras if the user community
needs that much support. We have two people to run about 60 Sun machines in
a research environment. We also support 20 Macs, a dozen PCs and a Linux
cluster of 40 machines.
we have 10 UNIX administrators managing 92 Solaris boxes, 23 AIX boxes,
about 10 Alpha boxes, and a smattering of SCO and other systems (maybe 10 or
20). So that's 10 admins for not quite 150 boxes, about 15 boxes per admin.
Of course, we do almost NO end-user
support. Any applications that run on our systems have some sort of
application helpdesk
in place. Most of our work is done through the DBA's, who tend to work more
closely with
the Applications people and such.
You're getting in a VERY debatable situation.

Reason: Some sites could have several very standard systems, which doesn't
defiant at all from each other, except perhaps the data, and is setup in a
manner to be administrated from a single desk.

Just the site next to it, could need several administrators per machine, as
there could be lots of work to be done per service etc.

The rule I could advice you on is time...

See if you have enough time in a 8-5 (Or 9-5 depending on the labour laws
;^) 5 day week to do that week's work. If you aren't that's the time to ask
for help, and start to look for things that a "junior" to your position
could do, ie. creating user accounts, changing passwords, swapping tapes
etc. to leave time available for you to do the "interesting" stuff like
making that printing to the PC work that you've been postponing for so long
because of time constraints..
I can't speak for anywhere else, but here at Pitt CS, a staff of two manages
191 Unix systems comprising ten different architectures.
I'm one guy maintaining 22 hp boxes (medium/large sizes)and 8 Suns
35 - but it depends on how complex the environment is.
I'd check www.usenix.org (in the lisa section for this), they're sys admin
survey used to carry this kind of data iirc. For pure anecdotal purposes,
I'd say that you need 2 sysadmins (so that one can take a vacation) + 1 for
every 20-100 boxes past the first group of that many boxes -- this is for
small-midsized relatively homogenous boxes. Larger boxes, very heterogenous
boxes, and the like will add to the required overhead
It's going to depend on the environment and how specific the apps are of the
systems being admin'd ... my group is (hopefully) atypical as we are 6
system administrators, but one is primary for our mail system, another
primary for the (3) Oracle hosts, another for our backup server and both
library systems (the older library system is a VMS box, this admin has a bit
of overlapping for the few remaining VMS hosts) and myself for a few NOC
related boxes (5+). Our overlaps get even worse since I handle system-based
security issues, some networking systems and those services; but our
networking group has a security person who handles their programming, etc.
Maybe it's because we're academic ... but I wouldn't be surprised to see the
overlaps an overlooked factor in justifications.
You've just asked the $64,000 question. I've seen this debated on SAGE
mailing lists
and on the HP-UX mailing list. The general consensus is . . it depends!!
What are your SA's responsible for? What kind of systems? (workstations?
mid-range servers? E10000s? Windows boxes? how many of each?) What skill
level is your "average" sysadmin? what kind of work is being done on the
systems? In short, there is no silver bullet. You have to define the
complete environment that the SA team is responsible for and what they are
expected to handle (like, do you have Service Level Agreements?). Once you
get all that together,you'll be in good shape to to both define how many
SA's of what skill level and
experience you need and to justify that to management. One place you might
start looking for general information on how to define all the things you
want to take into account is:
www.usenix.org -- look particularly at the SAGE pages

        John McIntire


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        Andover, MA 01810
        978-933-6326 - Office
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