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Starting up a linux business.
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Thread: Starting up a linux business.

  1. #1

    Starting up a linux business.

    Hi guys and gals,

    After seeing how my bro's work gets screwed over with MS licencing fees. I thought that maybe I can startup a little linux business on the side with a friend of mine.

    I want to get some of your advice. What I want to do is to provide small organizations with linux solutions. For example, if a dentist office wants to have a file server then for me to go in there and set them up with a box with samba. Or if the local church wants to setup an e-mail server then for me to go in and get them on a postfix e-mail server.

    Know I have played around with my computers and have managed to setup all sort of servers. But it has been when I have had the time to mess with my box. So I am no where near and expert.

    So what do you guys suggest should I get some training or get certified or should I set all my customers with Redhat enterprise or something of the sort.

    What you guys think? Hope it makes sense.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Mentor
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    Jun 2001
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    1,672

    Re:Starting up a linux business.

    This all sounds good, but I have to warn you. Installing and setting up these systems is going to be the easy and fun part. Supporting them later on is going to be a royal pain in the ass.

    Just think about it. Saturday morning you're hanging out with your friends. You get a call from the doctors office that their server is down, they can't get their patients' records. You have to drive an hour across town to get to the office. It is probably just a minor fix, but you can't even charge them for the trip because you were there 2 days ago to work on the server.

    These are the real life scenarios. Make sure you prepare for them or abandon the plan altogether.


  3. #3

    Re:Starting up a linux business.

    [quote author=cloverm link=board=4;threadid=9842;start=0#msg89298 date=1096992956]
    This all sounds good, but I have to warn you. Installing and setting up these systems is going to be the easy and fun part. Supporting them later on is going to be a royal pain in the ass.

    Just think about it. Saturday morning you're hanging out with your friends. You get a call from the doctors office that their server is down, they can't get their patients' records. You have to drive an hour across town to get to the office. It is probably just a minor fix, but you can't even charge them for the trip because you were there 2 days ago to work on the server.

    These are the real life scenarios. Make sure you prepare for them or abandon the plan altogether.


    [/quote]
    I agree. If you decide to go that route, make sure you negotiate a support deal you are comfortable with.

  4. #4
    Junior Member
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    Re:Starting up a linux business.

    I do IT for a bunch of small businesses (although we only do MS boxes), and I haven't had many weekend or night calls.

    I reckon your biggest problem is going to be with software. A lot of those sorts of businesses (Doctors, Architects, corner stores, etc) use a software package designed specifically for their field. It's typically pretty foolproof, to cater for the non-technical types, and you're going to be pushing shit uphill trying to find a version for Linux..

    That said, if it's just the fileserver, firewall/gateway sort of thing you're looking at, just make sure you set it right, and they tend to look after themselves. Try arrange some sort of regular maintenence visit, to catch the problems before they make stuff fall over. And it's nice if they have broadband into the site: port forward port 22 to their linux box, and you can look into it any time you want with SSH.

  5. #5
    Advisor Outlaw's Avatar
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    Clifton Park, NY
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    Re:Starting up a linux business.

    So what do you guys suggest should I get some training or get certified or should I set all my customers with Redhat enterprise or something of the sort.
    I'm thinking of doing something similar down the road. I myself would certainly offer Redhat to orgs who are biased to its name recognition, but also offer full support for Debian and BSDs. I would also learn as much as I could about host/networkperformance monitoring, tuning solutions and offer that. Example, setting up Nagios and/or graphing performance data from sar reports and mrtg for capacity planning. Those things are non-trivial and alot of smaller businesses either lack in house talent, or lack the time to tackle that. It looks better to the managers if you offer it in a total package. Maybe even offer a "phone home" feature in case of problems. Get familiar with hardware, storage networks, etc. Not that it has to be right away, but those are some of the things I would be thinking about. Personally, I would want a partner in crime to start out with. My 2 pesos.

    --more--

    Not that certifications are an indicator of your ability to do your job, but think about them as marketing tools.

    Ex; all of our consultants are [insert credential here] certified. Plastered on your "services" section of your website.

    Also, something I'm thinking about. There's a need for groups that can perform security audits, or that can get orgs prepared for them. Even if its a small org, set them up as though there could be an audit in the future. Use automated tools like Bastille for host settings, but create your own methods to tailor to their needs that go beyond. But generally look at trends and think of ways to fill the need. Like this
    skewed information, but its a trend in thinking and consultants must address it.

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