Re: [magi-discuss] Re: OC Register

From: Strata Rose Chalup (
Date: Fri Feb 23 2001 - 12:24:04 PST


I think you're confusing Help Desk staff with IT staff. The IT staff are
the ones who are working 50 - 60 hour weeks but aren't in the bonus pool
because they're not part of engineering, and aren't in the incentive plan
because they're not part of sales. The ones who are on 24 x 7 pager duty
for one week out of every 4 or 6 weeks, for no extra compensation. The
ones who clean up the mail queue at 2am when some wingding replies to the
company-all list with a 16Mb PowerPoint presentation.

Not to mention the ones whose budget pays for the highspeed switched
desktop networks you will need for your P2P, and the backup machines,
and the tape drives, and the media, and the manpower, to support all
these new toys you "need" in the business world, but whose budget has
to be fought over in every line item because IT is an "expense" department
instead of a "revenue" department like Sales, Exec, or Engineering.

The Help Desk staff are just like the IT staff, except that they are
paid 30 - 60% less and get to deal with everyone assuming they are stupid
and asking to talk to a "real" staffer. They are not twiddling their thumbs,
they are studying to become IT staff, probably somewhere else, and get the
raise they deserve. Turnover in typical helpdesks was 40% annually and
climbing last time I looked.

Many business people are like somebody who drives their own car as if
it were a rental car, then says their mechanic must be lazy or incompetent
when he gets the news that the car won't take that kind of abuse without
expensive work. The few that understand tend to get more done, because
they know what "infrastructure" means and what it costs to get it reliable.
One reason I transitioned out of IT and into e-commerce years ago is that
in both cases the execs say "We require 99.whatever uptime!" but only in
the e-commerce case are they willing to pay for it without a disaster to
show them the true costs.

Just curious, do you have any computers at home, Terry? If so, try keeping a
notebook for a few months. Log two kinds of things. One, how much time is
spent doing anything that could be called "administration" (installing
new software, figuring out why something doesn't work, planning to buy
something and making sure it will be compatible, etc). Two, every time
you or anyone else in your family hits some problem with the computer,
or the dialin, or whatever else that causes them to do something different
than they planned to do. "I was going to play this game, but it wouldn't
load, so I played that one instead." or "I was going to read my email,
but the dialup was busy, so I made a list instead" and so on.

Reading that log six months later from cover to cover should be an
enlightening experience.


A man came up to me and said
"I'd like to change your mind
By hitting it with a rock," he said,
"Though I am not unkind."
        - TMBG

terry_ wrote:
> hi ya,
> Does this mean the image off IT staff sitting around twiddling their fingers
> and listening to phones ring will be a thing of the past. Will they now need
> to respond to the real world of work, :)
> terry
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Strata Rose Chalup" <>
> To: "FoRK" <>
> Cc: "Magi Discuss" <>
> Sent: Friday, February 23, 2001 1:19 AM
> Subject: [magi-discuss] Re: OC Register
> >
> >
> > Gregory Alan Bolcer wrote:
> >
> > > ...
> > >
> >
> > > True P2P is when two people have P2P
> > > software and share files over the Web
> > > without the interference of a central server,
> > > which still is needed to provide Internet
> > > access.
> > >
> > > An office working on P2P could
> > > collaborate instantly. If one employee is at
> > > lunch with a cell phone and another is at
> > > the airport with only his Palm Pilot, they
> > > could simultaneously edit a power-point
> > > presentation on a third employee's personal
> > > computer.
> >
> > One man's "interference" is another man's "lower MTBF".
> >
> > The kind of P2P this author envisions is going to be a nightmare
> > for support staff and result in lower productivity and more frustration
> > for offices in general. An environment where desktop machines can
> > contain critical data is one which is infinitely more difficult to
> > back up-- there is a reason why there are file servers in an office.
> >
> > Desktops are also more susceptible to viruses and to users installing
> > non-supported HW/SW on them (which usually causes trouble). The only
> > nice thing about this currently is that only two people get screwed
> > by this-- the desktop user him/herself and the poor bugger from IT or
> > IS who has to untangle the mess. Just wait until critical documents
> > are trapped on Joe Sixpack's machine when he nukes it with some lame
> > drivers from who knows where.
> >
> > Then there's the load factor on the desktop itself. Suppose you're
> > crunching Excel spreadsheets, or running one of those "eat your box
> > alive" fancy report generators? When you're in the field waiting
> > to edit that document on your cellphone, that's not going to be
> > any fun for you. To say nothing of when good ol' Joe is staying
> > late at the office so he can fire up Flight Simulator 2000.
> >
> > The other thing about desktops is that in order for them to be
> maintainable
> > at all from an IT/IS perspective, you have to be able to get at them
> > during off-hours. Big financials firms like Goldman Sachs actually
> > run jobs on many classes of desktops that completely wipe the box
> > overnight and reinstall the OS. Keeping the box in a known state is the
> > key. It's also how you keep people using current versions of software,
> > and make upgrades available without the unscaleable process of sending
> > an admin to somebody's desktop. Admittedly there are tools where you
> > can autokey upgrades to run when the user permits. But if you know that
> > folks are going to be trying to access your data from Singapore, suddenly
> > that 3am autoexec reboot job doesn't look so good.
> >
> > P2P is a great concept, but not necessarily for business-critical data.
> > I think that the only feasible applications for P2P in key business
> > areas are ones where individual desktops store A copy, not THE copy,
> > of a file. Of course, then you get into locking and updating issues.
> > I'll be surprised if there isn't a CVS pserver or similar lurking under
> > the covers of the first P2P app to make it big in business.
> >
> > More businesses could do well by running themselves on a mirroring basis
> > internally, with replications and referral-on-write. Then the P2Pness
> > would make a data finding mesh which pointed to a much smaller mesh of
> > places to actually get the data. A compromise from both perspectives,
> > but one which is much more maintainable in the long run. Servers are
> > servers for a reason. If you care about always getting to your data,
> > you have to do certain things, and those things are not desktop kinds
> > of things.
> >
> > Fortunately there's a rich mix of data which is NOT mission critical
> > and which P2P apps can sequester on little desktop blackholes to their
> > hearts' content. :-)
> >
> > Cheers,
> > _Strata
> >
> >
> > --
> > ========================================================================
> > Strata Rose Chalup [KF6NBZ] strata "@"
> > VirtualNet Consulting
> > ** Project Management & Architecture for ISP/ASP Systems Integration **
> > =========================================================================

Strata Rose Chalup [KF6NBZ]                      strata "@"
VirtualNet Consulting                  
 ** Project Management & Architecture for ISP/ASP Systems Integration **

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