Projects That May Give You a Leg Up at Your IT Help Desk Job

By Tyler Regas

Not all IT ops do everything the same, so you may just be helping yourself if you bring a new process to your help desk job that will improve things for your new employer. Saving time and money are important to corporations, and there is real value in being the one to deliver that savings through project work.

The following projects may help you, but also look beyond the specifics here and develop creative alternatives that best fit your circumstances.

  • Virtualizing servers: One of the great things about virtualization is that it can significantly reduce the number of physical servers that are installed, while maintaining a larger number of virtual servers. There are additional benefits as well. You can move virtual servers from one physical machine to another physical machine with a few clicks.

    Fewer physical servers means smaller electricity usage, which, in turn, lowers electric service bills. Savings spread out over a year can be rather sizable.

  • Replacing old, slow tape‐based backup libraries with fast, reliable SAN devices: Tapes are slow, and with system capacities the way they are these days, those tape drives are likely no longer enough. SAN and NAS devices are a lot faster, but also a lot more expensive. However, several vendors are out there that can give you a deal, especially on a smaller unit for testing.

    The drawback, sadly, is that you have to convince bean counters to part with more beans than they may like, even for some testing.

    Take a look at Drobo for testing a deployment because it’s extremely reliable and quick to set up. Just keep in mind that unless your company has no plans to grow, you may want to look at another vendor for large‐scale deployments if testing is successful.

  • Upgrading older, less effective uninterruptable power supplies: It’s not uncommon for smaller companies to have purchased a battery backup system at some point and then just forgotten about it. About the only time they do pay attention is when it’s screaming because it needs new batteries. That could be a possible cue to push (lightly) for an upgrade to newer, longer lasting, more effective, and frequently much lower cost replacement devices.

    One of the benefits of such a project is that it can illustrate a number of different skills you have, making you an even more valuable asset. It’s best, however, to show how you are saving them money, instead of just spending it.