would like to thank Mr. David Nocera, VP at Innovative Systems
Design, an information technology company, located in Edison NJ, for
some specific information we utilized.
In the last issue we began to cover some of the complexities
of infrastructure at the basic website level.
This issue continues to delve deeper into infrastructure’s
requirements and constraints, which can greatly impact the flow of
business. The enormity
of how it affects a company’s bottom line is staggering.
of the folks at Innovative Systems Design came out of AT & T.
David Nocera, Vice President of Innovative Systems Design
explains, “As Chief Architect for AT & T Long Distance, I had
an infrastructure of 475 Unix and NT servers, located across 35 call
centers and 2 data centers.”
He continues, “When you manage something that vast you have
to come up with procedures and methodologies for doing it in an
efficient way. Otherwise,
you have 10’s of people managing infrastructure and your
operational costs are driven even higher.”
Some of what Mr. Nocera and his associates have done at
Innovative Systems Design is to take their methodologies and turn
them into software.
Not The Size That Counts . . .
how you align your business with your technology infrastructure that
matters. While large
companies can absorb inefficiencies, they can really hurt the small
and mid-sized company’s bottom line.
Companies in their quest for market-share and competitiveness
are embracing available technologies:
Development of websites; putting in local area networks
(LANs); building wide area networks (WANs); managing their supply
chains; creating relational databases; data warehousing , knowledge
management, distance learning and training.
The list goes on and on.
now you’re going to a 3rd party integrator or hardware
reseller. Chances are
they are going to sell you as much software and hardware as
companies have whole organizations that know about technology and
they can afford a few mistakes, it just pulls a few percentage
points from the shareholder value.
To the small and mid-size company who don’t understand
technology, over-purchasing can devastate profits.
the initial purchase, be wary that there are a lot of 2nd
and 3rd order costs associated with over purchasing
example, if you buy too many servers, you will also spend too much
Software Licensing, 2. Hardware Maintenance Contracts,
perhaps the hardest to quantify is,
3. The people costs associated with Platform Management.
when you roll-out an infrastructure, you will need to understand the
implications. For example, if you minimize the number of servers,
you can reduce the total cost of ownership.
The same holds true for desktop PCs and storage devices.
They need to be set up, managed and maintained.
As a result, the more infrastructure components arrays you
have, the higher the costs of manageability as seen in those as 2nd
and 3rd order costs.
one should be purchasing infrastructure; they should be aligning
infrastructure purchases with the needs of their business. Anyone
seeking infrastructure expertise should expect this level of
knowledge from their providers.
evaluating the introduction of a new technology always consider the
is the ability of technology solutions to be managed, which reduces
people costs. The most critical question to ask when introducing any
technology is how this technology will be managed. For example, the
industry estimates that a typical PC desktop cost the business over
$2500 per year to maintain (hardware, software and people). The people costs items, i.e. help-desk, LAN, virus,
email and printer support can amount to over $1000 per year. If a technology solution is difficult to manage,
purchase decisions aimed entirely at reducing the cost of the
hardware acquisition (one time $800) can actually cost the business
more in the long term.
desktop technologies that exist today to drive down the cost per PC
desktop are thin client computing and Linux with Star Office.
The former approach takes operating costs out of the business
while the later takes software licensing costs out, but requires
training. If you have
“heads-down” users who only perform a few business functions on
their PC, such as word processing or accounting, the migration to a
Linux desktop as an alternative to Microsoft is becoming a real
option. If you have
occasional PC users that need the power of the PC and you want to
drive down operations costs, thin client computing options exist
like Citrix MetaFrame.
is the ability for infrastructure components themselves to survive
are costs in a business associated with outages. Some companies lose money when systems are down.
A good example is call centers.
When systems are down at a call center, the result could be
perhaps 1000 call reps sitting around with nothing to do.
Lets not forget the customer either—they can’t get
costing the company a lot of money (and good will)!
This is how availability is tied to costs.
are a number of technologies that exist today such as server farms
that can allow a company to purchase cheaper hardware without
about getting the most functionality out of your infrastructure.
For example, if you get more users per box, you would need
fewer boxes. Fewer
boxes means you bought less physical hardware, which in turn lowers
your capital/depreciation costs as well as all the software
licensing costs etc.
- One of the most important
aspects is scalability.
How does your
infrastructure grow? How
do you add new technology into an infrastructure and allow it to
expand exponentially, if that’s the way your business grows,
without laying out all your money up front?
A better alternative is an architecture with a upfront
plan on how to scale it. This plan is called a Capacity Plan. A
Capacity Plan details how the infrastructure is going to grow.
- When you build an infrastructure solution, how do you
secure it? How do you
sure it up against hackers? Many
times, security is protecting you from yourself, such as operational
errors and people having the right permissions to access the
computers, servers and databases.
help you manage infrastructure from a security prospective, there
are new classes of software that, for example, prevent multiple
servers from varying into different standards.
So if you have 15 web servers, today your system
administration staff will log into all of your web servers, one at a
time and try to keep them running at the same performance level.
With this software, you can now manage all of those servers
simultaneously as though they were a single server.
Therefore when you roll out Operating System patches or are
setting new performance tune-ups, they all get the same tunable
parameters. Now you’re managing your populations of servers more
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