Following discussions triggered on another question: let's imagine a small start-up company who has to decide what to do with its capital. Two suggestions are made:

a) The company spends capital on a good sysadmin, but takes the risk of not having enough work for him full-time (at least at the beginning). So, it is not an perfect allocation of capital.

b) One suggests to delegate sysadmin work to a 3rd party company (at least at the beginning) and spend more of the money on software engineers. It looks like better allocation of capital, but is it really? One is taking risk by not having 'control' and quality on sysadmin work. Plus can one trust a 3rd party to run servers containing critical info?

Has anyone ever attempted option b)? Was it successful or not? Was it worth it? Would you recommend it?

closed as primarily opinion-based by HopelessN00b Jan 26 '15 at 6:46

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  • 2
    I recommend Option B for any small company that doesn't want to hire someone at least part time (even then, it's probably a better idea until you can justify a full time person). Get refferences and do your homework before engaging a company; there are a lot of Less Than Qualified™ operations out there. – Chris S May 12 '11 at 14:26

If you are a "tech" company, and given you mention spending on software engineers, then I assume you are, I'd recommend just getting some of your techies to help out.

Thats what we did when I started our Software developent company 11 years ago - we bought a server, put Windows Small Business Server 2000 on it and if things went wrong we fixed it.

It was running a simple mail server, firewall (for our 64K leased line!) and web proxy

Now, 11 years later I still do a lot of the sysadmin type of stuff but we also have hired a dedicated resource.

Until you are a reasonable size, a full time sysadmin is not necessary.

Of course if you are not a techie company then it makes sense to outsource to a third party.

  • Most developers would have a fit with someone recommending to their superior to "just have one of your techies help out." Your developer would be very ineffective at his original position if he is getting interrupted to maintain a server(s) and fix the desktops of your non-technical users. – jamesbtate May 12 '11 at 17:05

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