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a customer recently asked me about the "administrative costs" of a SharePoint-Farm. Does anyone know about statistics/research/case studies on how many administrator-Hours it takes to maintain a simple three-tier farm?

Edit:
By "cost" I mean neither hardware, nor software. My client is perfectly willing to spend those :-)
I mean "time" - My client has three full-time administrators working and maintaining the current machines (checking eventlogs, handling updates/patches and so on - whatever it is, that administrators do...).
Now the administrators are worried they can't handle the new machines (I'm guessing it will be like 8 machines, 3 for production, 3 for testing, two for integration - dev machines will be handled by developers) so for them to have any backing to request like one or two new employees I would like to have some nice statistics on how many people it takes to maintain [5|10|20] [windows-servers|sharepoint-servers|sql-server instances]

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I think I depends on the scope of the tasks the administrator is responsible for. Can you specify what the administrator should do exactly? In different projects they understand "administrative" work differently. –  Denis Molodtsov Feb 8 '13 at 9:53
    
As I'm no admin I'm not sure what admins normally do :-) In this case it's all about running/maintaining the machines up to the SharePoint installation. That is maintenance of hardware and the windows-system, as well as the sql-servers. The SharePoint installation in itself would be handled by another team. Possibly the administrators would be needed to keep an eye out for errors in the SharePoint-logs but fixing those errors would not be their job... –  Nils Feb 8 '13 at 10:46
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For completeness: I got more answers ranging from 1 day/month to 1 person/WFE - some more links are huddle.com/blog/sharepoint-cost-explained and harbar.net/archive/2009/03/13/… –  Nils Feb 18 '13 at 14:16

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As Zerg00s said it depends on business needs or what a client wants from SharePoint. SharePoint can be used as a core product to help end user with there meetings, decisions or even public websites but I know few organizations that have it there but they just use it for uploading documents.

So it entirely depends on what your client want to do, but as far as I think it won't going to be cheap as then your client will have to get hardware which won't going to be less then 10K in GBP and then Product license which you can say won't be cheaper then 5K GBP unless they are partners to Microsoft and get it cheap or even free and there are different types of licensing so you can look into that too. Once you get Hardware and Software sorted they will be require at least a SharePoint developer(if they want customized solutions) and an SharePoint administrator to set-up everything for them and maintain it as SharePoint isn't easy product to be maintain by end user.

I would suggest your client to use SharePoint online as I can assume they ain't part of a big organization or try something like eShare that provides SharePoint for a very cheap price and it is well customized and provide support as well. how do I know ? I work at eShare :).

You can suggest your client to use this WebPart to find out how much they can save.

http://www.eshare.co.uk/WhyChooseeShare/Pages/FindOutHowMuchYouCanSave.aspx

I by no mean trying to promote a business but trying to share what I think is best out there for the SharePoint community.

Hope it helps.

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Thanks for the SharePoint-online advice, but an on-premise installation is required. I edited the question to better explain what I am looking for. –  Nils Feb 8 '13 at 10:48
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@Nils we have hundreds of clients with ten's of end users and farm is way bigger then one you suggested but if you are asking for how many people will be required to maintain a simple 3 - tier farm then I would say just 1 SharePoint architect or a Support guy with a SharePoint administrator should be more then enough. –  Muhammad Raja Feb 8 '13 at 11:15
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This article will give you over sight of what a SharePoint admin's job is (day by day) skylinetechnologies.com/Blog/Lists/Posts/Post.aspx?ID=16 –  Muhammad Raja Feb 8 '13 at 11:16
    
@TimeToShine you say one SP architect or support guy is enough. You are talking about one person doing this full-time or part-time shared with other administrative tasks (e.g. Exchange, Active Directory). –  Dennis G Feb 18 '13 at 14:22
    
@moontear A SharePoint Architect or (SharePoint Admin with a Support guy) all of these have to be full time roles. And yes it sounds like a big job but like I said after a successful deployment of SharePoint( by following best practices) there won't gonna be a lot to do for a Admin then do regular back ups, monitor and watch out security patches released by Microsoft each month. Let me know If you want further discussion in detail in a chat room :) –  Muhammad Raja Feb 18 '13 at 21:08

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