in DevOps

Confusing service types

One of the problems we face in ITS is promoting, yet differentiating, the types of MySQL services we provide.  I hear you thinking, “But you’re ITS!  You only provide one type … it’s just mysql!”  Yes and no.  I’m in this weird spot where I’m tasked with being the lead MySQL person for ITS Systems but also as one of the lead technical people for the campus-wide MySQL Enterprise support agreement.  What does that mean?

I wear two hats basically.  Under one hat, my role is to support, maintain, promote, and market the centralized MySQL services that we provide.  As part of that service, I make sure our hosts are a part of the campus-wide agreement.  We foot the bill for making sure that our hosts are under that agreement.  The cost to the customer is just spread out across lots of customers.

On the other hat, my goal is to also help promote the platinum support agreement and get customers to buy in to it.  But how are these two different?

In the centralized and fully managed environment (my first hat), we provide everything so you don’t have to.  That means we have a datacenter, with highly reliable hardware, using enterprise versions of the software, all managed by staff that are highly trained and experienced in various aspects of systems administration.  The benefit to you is that you don’t need to have any of these resources set up in your department or group.  You just come to us and get the databases you need.  This is great for customers that don’t want to sink expenses into setting all these things up on their own.

In the self-managed model (my term for those groups that would utilize the support contract directly), you may have everything that we have (staff, hardware, software, data center space, budget, and so on).  The reliability of your MySQL services is important to you, so being able to access commercial support is a win.  Especially when you consider that the agreement that ITS has worked out makes the barrier to entry (mainly the cost) significantly lower than if you had to purchase this on your own.  It’s a few thousand dollars per server if you wanted to get gold or platinum support from MySQL and do it on your own.  It’s $2500 from ITS and that covers any server you control in your department.  Sweet, eh?

The problem I’m facing right now is that the web pages we have promoting these two services are reasonably confusing when looked at in the context of each other.  It’s hard for a customer to tell which method of service they require, so I’ve been spending some time doing a rewrite to clear things up.  Hopefully I can get this posted soon because I think it will be really helpful to everyone, especially those customers who may not be entirely sure what they really want (or need).

Travis Campbell
Staff Systems Engineer at ghostar
Travis Campbell is a seasoned Linux Systems Engineer with nearly two decades of experience, ranging from dozens to tens of thousands of systems in the semiconductor industry, higher education, and high volume sites on the web. His current focus is on High Performance Computing, Big Data environments, and large scale web architectures.