How many people to admin a Cyrus system?

Vincent Fox vbfox at
Thu Nov 8 18:23:23 EST 2007

Gary Mills wrote:
> 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.

At a minimum you want 1 qualified person and someone cross-trained
as a backup, so that person can reasonably enough have vacations.

Any decent sysadmin should be able to MAINTAIN such a service
I don't think actually programming skills should be primary.  I have been
doing sysadmin work since 1989 and the actual programming work I've
done in that time has been maybe 2% of it.  If you have a lot of custom
interface stuff to your campus systems maybe you need more programmer
skills.   As a completely inappropriate generalization, former engineers
and mathematicians also make good sysadmins because they have the mindset
and the skills for problem decomposition and trouble-shooting.

> 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?


Entirely off-topic for Cyrus, but I am OPPOSED to outsourcing emails.

Let me analogize.  If a nearby bank wanted to make a deal with you, that 
would help out with some of your accounting functions so you could offload
some work and in exchange ALL they wanted was having all your students
as bank customers, would you approve that?  Would you not see this as an
inappropriate attempt to capture all your students for life? I would.

The folks at Google in particular, people keep forgetting they sell 
They have no loyalty to your users at all, and the entire basis on which 
they operate
is getting control of peoples eyeballs and minds and making money off that.
The search and email business are built AROUND that attempt to capture
people as totally involved consumers to which they help sell stuff.

I have nothing against people making money and selling stuff.  However when
in my role as a university employee I see lots of this sort of muddy 
thinking that
it's "free" or low-cost so why not?  It's not free and it's not without 
social implications.


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