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Teaming Up with the Right Management Service

Most network-management providers won't offer aggressive service or huge cost savings to small and midsize businesses. But we pushed and prodded, and got PerformanceIT to give our fictional food chain

Costing It Out

The annual cost of nine networking and six helpdesk staffers--$1.08 million including benefits--could pay for outsourcing of network and systems management (NSM) functions and still leave some money to be shifted to development efforts. In addition, TacDoh's budget was clogged with the usual high-cost management tools, including Hewlett-Packard's HP OpenView, Concord Communications' eHealth, and CiscoWorks and N-Form for the Adtran frame relay access devices. We earmarked MRCs (monthly recurring charges) for this network-management hardware and software as funds that could be repurposed. We stated no requirements regarding removing any or all existing personnel and management systems, but we made clear this was a cost-offset attempt (for more on how we figured TacDoh's current costs, see "Cost Comparison: Chewing the Fat").

We found that our fried-pie-in-the-sky economizing calculations were nave. Some vendors were more aggressive, but our savings were less than we'd hoped, to say the least (see the cost comparison chart on page 58).



Vendors at a Glance
click to enlarge

The Network

The TacDoh empire makes and sells deep-fried snack foods through 300 retail outlets in the Northeast, Southeast and Midwest that are connected via frame relay to three warehouse distribution centers. Corporate TacDoh is located at the Chicago warehouse site. The warehouses are meshed over the Internet using Route Science 3100 Path Control devices (for the particulars of TacDoh's situation, see "Scenario" on page 56).

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