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System Administration Costs

Much of the cost of system administration for either a Microsoft or Red Hat system will come from personnel salaries, the largest expense in any small-business computing environment. (Note that this may not be true, especially at a super-computing center!)

Anticipated Costs to Manage a Linux System

Red Hat Linux-based servers may be administered locally or remotely. Typical tasks involve monitoring a system's resources (RAM, storage space), maintaining software, network administration, security monitoring and response, user administration, and backup operations. Microsoft pundits may argue that the salary requirements of a Linux system administrator will be higher because there are fewer available in the industry compared to trained (or certified) Linux administrators.

One avenue ACME could take would be to send its existing administrator(s) to a Red Hat, Inc. Training Course. Table 6 contains a list of courses and costs.

Table 6—Red Hat Linux Training Course Levels, Content, Duration, and Costs






RH033; for users new to Red Hat Linux

4 days




RH131, RH133; advanced users in corporate network

.5 to 4.5 days




RH252, RH300, RH301; experienced Red Hat Linux technicians

1 to 5 days



RHCE managing network services and security in corporate network

4 days


The cost of administering Linux-based servers and LANs depends on many factors. Total costs will include the number of administrators, salaries, and compensation. According to the SANS Institute in a late-2002 salary survey of system administrators, the average salary was $69,340—with higher salaries in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and West Coast regions of the United States (salaries outside the U.S dropped 10–50 percent). ACME can benefit from the automation, efficiency, reliability, and remote management features of Linux. Administrator workloads can be reduced, and fewer system or network administrators will be needed. A Red Hat Linux sys admin should be able to easily handle the task of administering several hundred computers. An initial team of several administrators can be employed during a deployment and following a migration, with specific personnel resource needs determined after the system has been deemed stable and reliable.






Anticipated Costs to Manage W2K System

ACME must answer the question of how many administrators to hire when staffing its possible Microsoft LAN. The number of sys admins will affect the annual cost of operations. Many Microsoft pundits argue that the salary requirements of a Windows system administrator will be lower because there are so many available in the industry. Microsoft Certified System Administrators (MCSAs) are required to pass several examinations after taking a number of courses.

Microsoft's server products include system and network management software. However, an additional (and important) task facing a Microsoft system's administrator is the job of tracking installed software and licenses. This is an issue not normally faced in a Linux environment, especially if only free software is used to support business operations. Failure to track adequate licensing in a Microsoft environment can lead to major problems such as lawsuits, fines, penalties, or court action.

Salary requirements for network and system administrations will vary according to geographic location, site size, responsibilities, and site-response time requirements. Salaries can range from $50,000 to more than $100,000 depending on candidate experience, responsibility, and position offered by a company—although many employee candidates and employers use certification levels as a rough gauge in salary negotiations and offerings. According to some surveys, salaries of Microsoft system and network administrators have dipped in the last year or so. One 2001 salary survey places the average salary at $67,100. Database administrators and developers will command a higher range of salaries.







Table 7 contains a listing of related examinations and courses for Windows 2000 Server training.

Table 7—Windows 2000 Advanced Server-related Courses, Duration, and Costs





Exam 70-2151: Installing, Configuring, and Administering Microsoft Windows 2000 Server

Course 2151: Microsoft Windows 2000 Network and Operating System Essentials Course

3 days


2152:Implementing Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional and Server 5 days $1775
Course 1560:Updating Support Skills from Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 to Microsoft Windows 2000 5 days $1775

Exam 70-218: Managing a Microsoft Windows 2000 Network Environment

Course 2126: Managing a Microsoft Windows 2000 Network Environment

5 days





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