Why Your Server/Employee Ratio Matters

In most businesses, the ratio of employees/servers will reduce to a value much lower than one, but in successful online businesses, it can be 30:1 or more. What's the best number to aim for?

Server picture from Shutterstock

Stanford University lecturer Timothy Chou discussed this issue during his presentation at CA Expo in Melbourne last week. For the majority of businesses, the ratio will typically be between 0.1 and 0.4. (In emerging economies, it can be much lower; in Brazil the ratio is 0.04, while in India it is typically 0.02.)

However, the numbers are much higher in online service providers such as Facebook (30:1) and Google (50:1). In service industries, that number is likely to rise, Chou suggested.

"I think in the future every company is a software company, an information company," Choi said. "A service economy is one driven by information personal and relevant to you. Those companies that are going to be successful are going to be the ones running at 30:1 or 50:1."

You might not be aiming that high, but it's a reality that adding servers is much cheaper than adding headcount, especially if you use a cloud provider. What's the ratio in your organisation?


    While this may be somewhat interesting to a degree - I would have to imagine anyone actually in the position to make this decision is very unlikely to need to read such advice from a blog lol.

    "Hmm, I'm a million dollar intrastructure manager, better lookup www.howtobusiness.com/Icantdecidemyself"

    How would this apply in high schools?

    I like to think of us techies as an insurance policy. We cost money and don't always seem worth it, until the s hits the fan. Then you're glad you have us there.

    Wouldn't server per active user be a better ratio? In most companies every employee is an active user, whereas in Google and Facebook they have more servers because they have users who aren't employees.

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