% fortune -ae paul murphy

Quiz: things we know for sure

If you work in IT, particularly if you're a middle manager or otherwise have some responsibility for the future of your organization, try this five part quiz - then ask how your boss would do.

True or false?

(1) It is possible to have over 30,000 fully supported desktops with no on site hardware support at all.

Here's part of a Dec 17/04 Sun blog entry by "thin guy"

Sun Ray = Office Supplies. You can't "Fix" a Sun Ray. Out of the 33,000 Sun Ray desktops inside of Sun, how many "desktop" techs do you think are required to manage that install base? How does the number zero grab you? On the ultra rare occasion that something happens to your Sun Ray (let's say a power supply failure), you replace it and send it back for a warranty replacement (5 years on the SR1g). In the meantime you walk to the closet, grab a spare and plug it in and pick up exactly where you left off. Anyone who can replace staples in a stapler or replenish their supply of post-it notes can replace a Sun Ray

(2) A Windows 2003/XP Server license costs less than a comparably supported Red Hat license for free Linux

Here's part of the price list for the 2850 from the Dell site:

(3) A Solaris server with two 64Bit AMD CPUs costs less than an otherwise comparably configured Dell 2850 with two Xeons and Windows 2003/XP.

Dell 2850, 4GB, 1 x 73GB US3, 2 x 3.2Ghz Xeon, Windows 2003/XP Server (5 Cals): $6,275

Sun V20z, 4GB, 1 x 73GB US3, 2 x AMD Model 852, Solaris 10: $5,795

(4) Apple's dual G5 workstation is more than a thousand bucks cheaper than Dell's Precision dual Xeon.

A dual 2.7Ghz G5 with 4GB costs $3,849. A Dell Precision 670 with 2 x 3.6Ghz Xeons and 4GB starts at $5,111.

(5) Windows hardware is cheaper than Unix hardware.

Any machine capable of running a licensed Windows variant can run a free Unix.

Most of the wrong things people are sure of are more complicated than these - but also far more difficult to nail down. I maintain, for example, that the Windows rackmount is fundamentally an adaptation to the limitations of registry- something DEC itself struggled with with when it was nothing more than a usage authorization file- but you can't really prove that kind of thing. Simple minded statements like these five, however, are clearly either true or false and serve as the visible (or actually, proveable) tip of the iceberg.

Paul Murphy wrote and published The Unix Guide to Defenestration. Murphy is a 25-year veteran of the I.T. consulting industry, specializing in Unix and Unix-related management issues.