Homework

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No, not mine, but a close relative’s.

Here’s the problem.

The assignment is to come up with a RFP (Return For Proposal) for an ecommerce installation for a management class.

The instructor is clueless. For instance, his minimal requirement for a machine is a PII 400, Windows 98, and 8Mb of RAM. I don’t think he knows what a server is.

I won’t torment you with the actual assignment, but here’s what’s needed.

Ten machines; seven general office machines, one machine for graphics work, two for accounting; Access databasing used. Four color laser printers. Presume a server to at least run the network, maybe to actually run the ecommerce site.

Machines hooked up into an Ethernet network for basic services (printer and Internet sharing). High-end DSL or T1 line.

Purpose of enterprise is to run an ecommerce site with highly variable traffic, figure at most a few thousand transactions a day at peak, maybe ten off-peak. Figure the place will have a dozen or two items for sale. Either in-house or outsourced Web hosting (I would suspect the latter). Presume a simple site with nothing fancy in the way of customization.

The assignment babbles about 24/7 service and full redundancy, but that would seem applicable to the ecommerce site, and not to the general machines. The in-house machines would need outsourced maintenance and administration, plus backup.

Now if any of you have done a proposal that vaguely sounds like this lying around, I would immensely appreciate it if you could send me a copy of it so I could adapt it and save my relative’s ass.:)

The problem I have is that while I can certainly price hardware, I don’t know how you guys price machine and network installation, the sort of server operation you’d need for this, nor what you would charge to keep the system going, and under what terms. Those items will no doubt dwarf the actual hardware expenses. I don’t know how much profit you build in, and how you build it into your price.

This request has absolutely nothing to do with the operations of overclockers.com. It really is just to get a homework assignment done. I might take the information and turn it into a generic article on what’s required by a small business to set up a small ecommerce site, but if I eventually do that, I’ll ask permission before using any of the information.

Feel free to take any identifying information out of any documents you send, and if you don’t, I will immediately upon opening it. I’ll wipe the documents as soon as this thing gets done.

Thanking any of you who respond to this plea very heartily in advance. Ed

Email Ed


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