I had been speaking with a local SMB and a head of IT for a bank asking them about their servers, their current top five issues and it was interesting to hear that although they operated in different spaces, different markets and budgets, their needs were beginning to align from an end user standpoint, I’ve removed any references to the companies that they work for to avoid any debate, but the results remain the same.
SMB your top five issues
- Servers are coming out of support – do we buy new ones or run the risk, do we look at a support contract, but then we don’t like the cost of doing that
- Everything takes too long – why does replacing my web server become a three month project? Don’t we get a Gerald, with a linux dvd, a server and a network cable?
- Complexity of the infrastructure – we’re getting more layers within the IT space as we look at more solutions, more interdependent things which can be troublesome to troubleshoot when an issue arises – the SAN went on its holidays for a few hours last month and we had to call in a guy to reset it
- Loyalty and relationships – we want a good deal but we also want a degree of flexibility and someone that we can call at 3am to ask advice – we want buy in and a customer relationship which might not comprise of everything from one vendor
- Support getting quite difficult and expensive – our DL380 G2 system board failed, our service provider quotes us £1000 for a system board, £350 to fit it plus call out fees, we ended up getting an engineer to buy one from ebay for £95 and fix it himself. We would have paid £300 to the service provider if they’d had one, we needed the bits to fix it for the next few months whilst we migrate/fix it
Mr Enterprise your top five issues
- The need for support costs, yet the lack of interest in paying for them due to the cost, being able to know where the line is between what needs to be on the contract and what actually is, coupled with being able to take money from the support contract to upgrade old hardware
- Complex infrastructure, as we start with different application tiers, more middleware and infrastructure layers like clustering, SAN and NAS, scheduling and monitoring tools, the time taken to fix a problem can seem like longer and involve more teams
- The pressure to absolutely look at the best deal to save money whilst not appreciating the internal dynamics and associated direct/indirect costs of doing so, getting let down by a vendor over a trivial issue changing relationships from on the radar to high maintenance
- Challenges for a more diverse support model, business users wanting more involvement and control of the infrastructure, taking on more of the nuts and bolts infrastructure support, and the complexities in doing so, we aren’t necessarily geared up for hardware support and for commoditized platforms, saying rip and replace is fine in the event of failure, but only if the business sponsor has signed off on the risk of doing so. The key example, our Citrix x86 server which died four months outside the warranty, we needed a new backplane and some memory, but instead had to buy a new box and migrate resulting in weeks of outage, rather than four man hours and parts.
- Pressure around the data center space, in being more adaptable and responsive to change – why we aren’t looking at cloud without necessarily knowing what we would use cloud for, about in essence IT not having the answers for when someone wakes up and says right, we’re moving the email to cloud and we’re buying in grid compute resource.