Monday, September 21, 2009

How Many Admins Does it Take..

To manage a Lotus infrastructure?
Let's look into this a little deeper.

Domino, Notes clients, Sametime, Quickr, Connections, WAS even Domino.Doc wait everyday to cause admins around the world to stay busy...or do they?

What if your admins were really doing pc support most of their time, not server support.

Modern times bring modern problems, items you never imagined years ago, like Java versions, Browser types AND versions, languages, LDAP directories, DNS, Routers and so many other pieces just happen to be involved and knock off Frank in Accounting.

But let's get back to the numbers. How many admins does your organization really need?

I used to use a rule of thumb that one admin per 3-5,000 people. However, that number seems to have been raised now to 5-10,000 per admin depending on the organization and structure(read politics).

A few answers on Twitter provided what I presume usually, good admins can manage up to 15-20,000 users in many cases because they built their network solid to start and thus require less time involved focused on problems.

Now admins come in many flavors:

1) Level 1 (IBM's name for it is Rhythm) - Sometimes a help desk staff member, sometimes an ID reset/creator/password person.

2) Level 2 (IBM's name for it is Blues) - Detailed issues related to users with problems not easily solved by basic support and this is a broad lake filled with people.

3) Level 3 (IBM's name for it is Jazz) - The person who sits in his little room/cube and no one knows what he does except the level 2 team because they can the level 3 person in when they can't do it. Or it is a server/OS issue or failure.

4) Level 4 - Guru, not necessarily technical, but able to grok the environment and provide direction and just "fix it" when no one else will or wants to do so.

So how many do you need in an organization is a variable that each comes up with.

MUST you have multiple levels? No.
Should you hire good admins to start with, always.

If you can't afford good admins, please spend the money wisely on the senior person and make sure they are senior but also like and want to train others or mentor them, otherwise you are wasting your money.

So how many level 3/4 people do you need? How many 1/2? Just depends how you manage your infrastructure.

Too few and servers stop getting updated and you start seeing problems in the environment. Too many and you should be pushing some new products and business ideas.

So where do you fall in this spectrum?

I post this because as we look into an RFP for 100K+ users trying to figure out how many admins we would need to staff to manage it. So any input is always welcome.