Tuesday 7 December 2010

Intel Modular Server – Talking Component Redundancy with a Client

This is a quote of one of our posts that can be found here:

How do we explain the value of redundancy in system components and even in clusters? . . . It has to do with the discussions with the business owner and/or contact.

We do a cost evaluation relative to the total revenue of the client's company. That is, we ask for a general figure for the total revenue for the year. What we have discovered is that most company's users are valued at about $100/Hour based on 1,900 hours worked per year. The figure varies above and below depending on the type of business, industry, and how profitable they are.

So, when we are talking with a business owner of a 15 seat accounting firm, that is the number we would probably come up with after receiving a general gross revenue figure. That means that one hour of down time costs the firm roughly $1,500/Hour. This is about where building a cluster for a client becomes a reasonable option.

In the case of the IMS and the extra components for redundancy we would break things down as follows based on a 36 month lifecycle (probably longer):

  • Ethernet Switch Module $1,900
    • ESM cost per user: $0.02/Hour
      • 1900/3 years = $633/Year
      • 633/15 users = $42.20/User
      • 42.20/1900 = $0.02/Hour
  • Storage Controller Module $2,600
    • SCM cost per user: $0.03/Hour
  • All three paper pack keys (SharedLUN, Storage, Admin) $1,900
    • Admin packs cost per user: $0.02/Hour

Since our primary server setup on the IMS are Hyper-V clusters, why would we be delivering a solution that has any single points of failure? That kinda defeats the purpose of building a cluster in the first place.

Say an SCM fails and the IMS only has one installed. It takes us an hour to get there with a spare that _we_ would have to pay for, install the replacement, and bring things back up (hopefully).

Total cost to the client:

  • 2 hours of downtime $3,000
  • 1 hour of user catch-up time $1,500
  • 2.5Hours of Emergency Rush Service $750
  • Total Cost: $5,250.00

The above situation more than pays for both the extra SCM and the ESM too.

Once we break down the costs over the life of the system per user the cost of the components comes into perspective. Most folks would sticker shock on a two or three node cluster anyway if there was not a discussion like the above to prepare them to see the _actual_ cost of the system per user for the life of the solution.

Now, that is just the _cost_ associated with the extra components.

Where the value comes in is in developing the business owner’s and/or contact’s understanding of how their user’s efficiency will increase significantly with training and over time with usage. This discussion is also based on the above figures and ends up showing a repay on the total cost of the system as being 8-12 months.

That leaves 24 months of _making money_ over the lifecycle of the solution for the client.

Speaking to business owners _as a business owner_ and not a tech geek makes the sale almost every time. Almost all small business owners understand how something can improve their business and thus generate more money for them. That’s where those acronyms come in like TCO and ROI . . . but without all the fancy lingo. Just numbers, business efficiency, new abilities, and value for those abilities.

Oh, and clustering and redundancy equals _insurance_.

Philip Elder
Microsoft Small Business Specialists
Co-Author: SBS 2008 Blueprint Book

*Our original iMac was stolen (previous blog post). We now have a new MacBook Pro courtesy of Vlad Mazek, owner of OWN.

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