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?

closed as not constructive by SmallClanger, pauska, Bart De Vos, Smudge, Antoine Benkemoun Aug 30 '11 at 9:11

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  • 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

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


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.

  • 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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