Archive for December, 2008

Amazon Virtualization

Amazon Virtualization

Virtualization Benchmark

Amazon sold storage to external customers for 15 cents/GB/month (estimated).

Bechtel’s internal storage costs were $3.75/GB/month.

WHAT BECHTEL LEARNED: Amazon could sell storage cheaply, Ramleth believes, because its servers were more highly utilized.

Source: CIO Magazine, Bechtel’s New Benchmarks, October 24, 2008.


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Staff Support

Staff Support

IT Staff Benchmarks

Level One – Basic helpdesk phone support
– 1:80 to 1:110
Level Two – Installation, configuration, and
desktop support
– 1:45 to 1:85
Level Three – Systems, communications,
high end support and design
– 1:250 to 1:400

There is no single answer

Depends on
– Staff expertise
– Technical proficiency of end users
– Number of servers
– Number of remote branches and distance
– Level of high tech systems deployed by the bank
Leave enough room for project resources!

Source: “The Business of IT: Running Your Bank’s IT Department Like a Business”, Brintech, February 17, 2005

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Odin Technologies, an RFID integrator and vendor in its latest IT asset tracking report shows, that only within the last six months, passive RFID technology has delivered increased performance on IT devices like servers, laptops, blades and other high-value IT assets, according to a report.

The study’s results showed that, with RFID tags, IT personnel could inventory a rack of 40 servers in 12 seconds or identify all IT equipment within a typical cubicle five times faster than manual methods with 100 percent accurate data entry.

Source: http://www.cio.com.au/index.php/id;187166024;pp;1

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Microsoft Data Center

Microsoft Data Center

Microsoft has set some benchmarks for their Data Center of the future.   “A key driver is our goal to achieve a PUE (power usage effectiveness) at or below 1.125 by 2012 across our data centers”, said Michael Manos, general manager of global foundation services at Microsoft.

Source: http://loosebolts.wordpress.com/2008/12/02/our-vision-for-generation-4-modular-data-centers-one-way-of-getting-it-just-right/

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Staffing Model Proposed

Staffing ratio rarely work effectively
Good advice from JamesRL. Staffing ratio is not a very effective model in today’s complex (not meaning necessarily big)opereations. When someone asks me what their staffing level should be I always say “depends”. There are always uniquenesses to an operation that makes it different and changes the mix. JamesRL gave a good indication of what some of those considerations are. The next best thing to a staffing ratio in the Gross Staffing Model. This model can be easly created in a spreadsheet and the process and calculation is as follows:

1. Gather the Necessary Information
 Number of Incidents per year
 Average Handle Time including After Call work time
 Vacation, sick, holiday, breaks, training, projects, admin.

2. Determine Total Work Hours Required (TWHR) Per Year
 [Number of Incidents per year] x [Average Incident Handle Time] = TWHR per year

3. Determine Work Hours Available (WHA)
 [2080 Potential Work Hours (PWH)] – [Vacation, sick, holiday, breaks, training, projects, administrative time] = WHA

4. Determine Actual Work Hours Available (AWHA)
 Determine the Utilization rate you will use for your model.
o A good industry average for an IT service desk is 75%but should not exceed 80% or the group will be faced with issues of agent burnout.
 AWHA = Work Hours Available (WHA) X Utilization Rate (UR)

5. Determine Gross Staffing Level (GSL)
• [TWHR] / [AWHA] = GSL (number of staff required)

The problem here is that this model does not take service levels into account (arrival rate). To improve the accuracy you need to go to an Erlang-C based model. There are a number of those on the market, including ours (www.radarinteractive.com) however for smaller numbers I would go with the Gross Staffing Model(GSM). The GSM is flexable as well as it can be used for staffing for various tasks including: Email requests, desk side, etc.

These concepts are covered in the HDI certification training we deliver.

Source: http://techrepublic.com.com/5208-10878-0.html?forumID=7&threadID=178482&messageID=2035083

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Justine Nguyen suggests a baseline users-to-tech ratio of 60 users per one technician.  Read more to find out the details.
Source: http://news.zdnet.com/2422-13569_22-155252.html
Users-to-tech support ratio

How many employees should one tech support staff person oversee? CNET’s Justine Nguyen explains the golden ratio of users to tech support staff, and what factors contribute to it.

My name is Justine Nguyen, Director of Desktop Support here at CNET Networks, and I’m here to talk to you today about users to tech support ratio. We’ve been experiencing explosive growth here at CNET Networks, hiring employees left and right. And of course in order to provide support to those employees and their computers, I’ve had to ask for more technicians. There’s some complicated math that might go into that, but there’s some good rule of thumbs which I wanted to share with you today.

So the first thing, before you do any calculations is you have to take into account at least three things. The first thing is complexity. This involves your environment complexity, how many laptops versus desktops are you using? How many operating systems are in your environments, as well as the problem complexity-generally how involved are the problems, how hard are they to solve or how easy are they to solve?

The second thing you have to take into account is expertise. This would mean your technician expertise, how much they’ll need to know technically to solve the problems in your environment as well as your user expertise, how well do they know how to use the hardware and the software that they need to be productive.

The third thing that you do need to take into account is trends. Do some trend analysis of your problems. You’ll see spikes and dips as when problems occur. Make sure that you’re staffed up during those time periods to accommodate those, whether it’s during a software release, a new hardware rollout, or hiring spikes.

So the basic rule of thumb in terms of user to support ratio is 60 users to one technician. Now there are a lot of things that can influence this number. How many remote users do you have? Do the technicians have direct access to those machines or not? Do your technicians have to walk a long distance to get to users? Is there a lot of software testing done in your environment?

So I picked out six things that definitely influenced my recommendation. I’m going to share those with you. So the first one is if you have more than one operating system and no hardware standards in your environment-that means you’re using Mac, Linux, various versions of Windows-your ratio is going to be reduced to 45 employees to one technician. That’s a reduction of 15 employees per technician that can be supported.

However, you can increase the number of employees that each technician supports. For example, you can use restricted local administrator rights on machines. If you do this, your ratio will increase from 60 to one to 70 to one. That’s plus ten employees that are supported by each technician.

Another thing you can do is restrict local administrative rights completely. However, this will only increase your support ratio by five. For some reason, power users who don’t have administrative rights to their machine it involves more work for your technician.

A big productivity factor that you can have is to use remote software deployment, whether it’s SMS, Alteris, LanDesk. If you do this, your ratio will increase by 20 to one. That means that you will have an 80 to one ratio of employees to technicians.

Another thing that will really increase productivity is imaging or cloning, whether you’re using Ghost-you don’t want technicians to spend a lot of time building machines by hand. So this will increase the ratio by 15 to one.

Another good tool is remote control, going back to the distance a technician has to travel to provide support. Remote control tools will increase your ratio by 15 to one. So remember the rule of thumb we started with was 60 to one. Now there are a lot of things which will make that number smaller. However, if you implement standards, policies, invest in some software which will increase technician productivity, you can add up all of these ratio increases and receive a ratio of 125 employees to one technician.

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