Levi, Ray & Shoup, Inc.

Expecting, and preparing for, the unexpected

2/16/2023 by Patrick Schmidt

The Minnesota weather is taunting me yet again. Last year I wrote about the soggy mess in my yard during the Spring thaw. We are not there yet, but the pattern of up and down temperatures is the same. The difference this year is the cycle started in November and has not ceased.

As of the end of January, we had already tallied 55.5 inches of frozen precipitation. That’s snow to those of you who are sensible enough to live somewhere where white stuff falling from the sky is rare or non-existent. Our annual average is 54 inches, and we have two more months of winter to go.

Most of that snow was on the ground before the holidays. Then it decided to rain. Yes, rain in Minnesota in December. We received over an inch of rain between December 13 and 16. But wait, there’s more!

The weather rollercoaster crested over the big hill and started going down fast. Six days after our rain ended the temperature bottomed out at -27 degrees Fahrenheit and stayed nearly that cold for a week.

The temperature alone was brutal, but all that rain, combined with the rapid cooling, turned all that snow into hardpacked ice mounds in our yards and skating rinks on the streets. Standard salt mixtures stop melting ice at about -5 degrees Fahrenheit. The ice came, and it stayed.

I continue to remind myself (and grumble under my breath) that the weather is beautiful here in the Summer. Indeed, most of the time it is. But there is a certain frustration knowing how rapidly the wind, water, and temperature can change.

How do we deal with it? By preparing for the uncertainty with the right materials, tools, and knowledge.

Some winters I use 150 pounds of ice-melt on my driveway in a season. Others, less than 25. I have six different types of snow shovels and ice removal picks. Heck, it’s not uncommon to use both heat and air conditioning the same day in the North Star State.

Preparing for and soldiering through another Minnesota winter is not terribly unlike the ups and downs faced by companies and their IT enterprises. How? Let’s start with the right materials.

IT professionals do their very best to plan for their hardware needs. Compute, storage, and networking planning can be a tricky business that requires experience and skill combined with the right tools.

Sometimes you’ll hit a home run and all resources are optimized. Other times, one, two, or all three will not match expectations and your internal users are left with either too little capacity or dollars wasted on excess capacity.

So, how can your organization ensure it purchases the right amount of each? The answer may be to not buy it at all.

All major OEMs are now offering most of their IT hardware as-a-service. Some even offer their entire catalog in this consumption model. Infrastructure-as-a-service gives users a cloud-like experience with the security of housing the assets in their own datacenter.

What about tools?

Any IT administrator can tell you that managing hardware, especially as your enterprise grows, can be a daunting task. Fortunately, all major OEMs offer a management platform for their gear. But too often, these packages are considered unnecessary add-ons that drive up costs.

It might be time to reconsider that position. How much is an hour of an administrator’s time worth? How many hours are wasted on tasks that could be performed by a management package? Do the math and it might surprise you.

What about knowledge?

LRS IT Solutions is uniquely positioned to supply you with the right materials and tools, and supplement them with a knowledge base that is both wide and deep. From design to implementation to use and lifecycle management, we have the experts who can ensure you are prepare for the unexpected. Contact us to find out how we can help.

After all, you never know what is coming. As I write this it’s 39 degrees and raining again in Minnesota. Our projected low on Thursday, less than 48 hours away, is below zero. I wish I could get ice-melt-as-a-service.

About the author

Patrick Schmidt is a Technology Lifecycle Management Specialist with LRS IT Solutions. For more than 25 years, he has been helping customers get a firm grasp on their asset and contract management with a combination of comprehensive service level analysis and lifecycle management best practices.