How many people to admin a Cyrus system?

Gary Mills mills at
Thu Nov 8 17:50:59 EST 2007

We have a moderate-sized Cyrus system for 30,000 students and 3000
employees.  It's a critical service in the sense that thousands of
people depend on it.  It has excellent performance, lots of capacity,
and plans for expansion.  I'm the only one familiar enough with Cyrus
and sendmail to maintain it, although this is not normally full time.
I'm also the one who tracks down hard problems in Unix and does
development in a number of other areas.  Other than our data
management person, who supplies the LUNs for the e-mail store, I'm the
one who manages the system.

I'm also going to be 65 in two days, although I plan to stay around
for a year or so.  My director will be replacing me, but I assume this
will be with an entry-level person who will not have the ability to
maintain the Cyrus system, at least initially.  Other people in my
group do not have the skills or the available time to administer this
system.  I'm trying to convince him to hire somebody with development
and programming experience, but without much success so far.  How many
and what sort of people does it take to maintain a system such as
this?  I need a good argument for hiring a replacement for me.

My director seems interested in outsourcing our e-mail system, judging
by the number of articles on outsourcing that he sends to me.  Google
and Zimbra with a commercial contractor are the latest two.  Replacing
a perfectly functioning e-mail system seems ludicrous to me, as does
subjecting our users to a migration for no reason.  I assume at least
that he wants vendors to quote on a replacement system.  Perhaps once
he sees the cost, he will change his mind.  I suppose it depends on
whether the quote includes the real cost.  Does anyone here have
experience in this area?  I know that CMU and other universities want
to maintain their own e-mail systems.  What's the justification in
these cases?

-Gary Mills-    -Unix Support-    -U of M Academic Computing and Networking-

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