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Just wondering at what point it was worth hiring a system administrator when you're selling hosted software.

Most of the IT companies I can think of start with programmers polyvalent enough to handle the basic setup (install a few servers in redundant data-centers, administrate a database server, etc), and obviously, at some point, you want to have a "real" sysadmin work on this.

Now that our basic set up is there, our sysadmin work is mostly setting up new VPN connections with third-parties companies from time to time, keeping our servers updated, making sure they're not low on disk space, reinstall a workstation from time to time, creating AD accounts for our new hires, etc. Hardly a full time job.

Obviously, a sysadmin would be able to do a few things that we just didn't do so far such as :

  • further increase the resilience of our production infrastructure (I think it's pretty good already, but this is clearly neither my main domain of expertise nor my primary job)
  • increase the resilience of our office infrastructure (which we just didn't look into at all)
  • automate some manual maintenance tasks (such as reinstalling a workstation from scratch)
  • monitor everything on a more proactive basis than what we currently do

The thing is that I'm wondering if we're big enough for this. We've got two datacenters, 6 production servers, a mirrored sql database, a handful of office servers (AD, exchange, tfs...), a dozen of workstations and laptops, and ... that's it.

  • Is it worth hiring someone yet?
  • Will we have enough to keep him busy full-time? (this is a different question).
  • Will a system administrator make our lives better besides what I already mentioned, and how?
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closed as not constructive by SmallClanger, pauska, Bart De Vos, sam, Antoine Benkemoun Aug 30 '11 at 9:11

As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, visit the help center for guidance.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

    
Just to clarify, this question has been closed because there's no clear-cut answer to it. It's a good question, one I'm sure many businesses like yours are wrestling with. –  Chris S Aug 30 '11 at 12:47
    
@Chris : thanks for letting me know. Does this question belong to another site then? or can I rephrase it so that it belongs here? the thing is that I have the impression a lot of people here would either benefit from this question or be glad to answer it. –  Brann Aug 30 '11 at 15:25
    
unfortunately no, there's no site for discussing a SysAdmin's Job. Even if you rephrased it specific enough for us to give a definitive answer, it would then be localized to you, and closed as too localized (as it wouldn't apply to anybody else). it's a point we've trying working out a solution for, but don't have anything at this point in time. –  Chris S Aug 30 '11 at 15:49

2 Answers 2

you always can hire part-time sysadmin, negotiate hourly rate and paid for spent time. there's a lot of freelancing web-sites around

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At the point where loss of service costs more than paying someone to avoid that loss of service.

When that is, only you can answer.

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Would you advice a biker to invest into a helmet only when the cost of the brain surgery outweighs the cost of the helmet, then ? :) –  Brann Aug 30 '11 at 8:58
1  
If the probability of a collision needing brain surgery x price of brain surgery > price of helmet, yes. –  Antoine Benkemoun Aug 30 '11 at 9:00
    
Brann. what Antoine said. So basically, yes. –  Sirex Aug 30 '11 at 9:16

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