People don’t know what it takes to do IT support.. December 24, 2005 at 12:13 pm

[ Viewing: “Battlestar Galactica – Season 2.0” (Mca Home Video) ]

I like to read the letters to the editor on the website of our local newspaper The Union-Tribune, and today I read one that just grabbed my attention:

Off the shelf and on sale

The San Diego City Council approved spending $272,300 to increase its electronic database capacity from 160 gigabytes to 240 gigabytes. A Fry’s insert in the Union-Tribune has a 300 gigabyte hard drive for $99 after a rebate. I’ll pick one up, and sell that to the city for $200,000 and save it $72,300. I’d be happy to keep the difference.

And we wonder why the city is in a financial crisis.

La Jolla

With all due respect to Mr. Glenn, he has no idea what it takes to do IT support for an organization, especially what it takes to serve data, keep it online and secure, etc. So I decided to send in my own letter in response:

Regarding the letter “Off the shelf and on sale,” of Dec 23rd. As someone
that works in IT, I regularly hear our users make the same assumptions: If
you can buy a large drive at Fry’s to slap into your PC, that’s the cost the
company should pay for data storage. However, this is ignoring what it takes
to actually serve data to a decently sized orgainization and to protect that

Data, like a database, for any decently sized company, or for government
entities is something that has to be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
In order to do this, one has to have a lot of redundency. This redundency
adds to the cost of a storage system. Any decent system will have redundant
and hot-swappable disks, power supplies, fans, network cards, etc; all to
protect against hardware failures. On top of this, there’s always the chance
that the data could become corrupted, or human error could destroy the data.
There’s also disaster recovery to plan for, perhaps a fire or earthquake
damages the computer room and equipment beyond repair. Therefore you now
have to include a backup system and offsite storage of some backups. A
backup system will need to store multiple copies of the data over time, and
the backup and restore times will likely need to be as short as possible,
again driving up the price. While the price quoted ($272,300) might be a bit
high, it is not fair to compare this price to a single hard drive.

Anyone that thinks that simply buying that one hard drive and slapping it into
a PC to serve up data to an organization would find themselves out of a job
the first time any data was lost. Some people don’t realize such data likely
represents 10’s of thousands of man hours of work, and millions of dollars of
a company’s Intellectual Property (or the government’s data). When you
realize this, the cost for a highly available and redundant system (with
backups) suddenly isn’t easily compared to the cost of one hard drive.

We’ll see if they publish it or not.

Oops.. I forgot to spell check it before sending it.. I hope I didn’t make too many mistakes. 🙂

3 Responses to “People don’t know what it takes to do IT support..”

  1. yodude, if you are up for a game of counterstrike, let me know…

    yeah HL2 kicks ass big time.

  2. Hey, Miguelito. Nice post! My little editorial was kind of tongue in cheek. Actually, I do know that it takes more than a simple hard drive to do IT backup, but with the financial crisis that brings in new revelations of incompetence almost on a daily basis, I didn’t mind stirring the pot a little bit. It sure got a lot of attention! I have kept the clippings. By the way, I am a big B5 and BSG fan also. Bet you thought you would never hear from me. 🙂


  3. Wow… pays to go back and read old posts and check comments I guess.

    I completely missed this comment before.

    Back on topic.. glad to know the editorial was tongue in cheek. I do run into the same kind of attitude a lot though. Scary thing is when it’s with engineers at work that design chips. They even fall for things like the MHz myth, which is doubly scary when they design IC’s themselves and should know better.

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