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7 minute read7 Hacks that Help IT Pros Save Time

by Reid Smith-Vaniz, CEO, Reliant Technology

No one has enough time, here’s how you can get back 100+ hours.

Hack #1: Kill the refresh project

The refresh project is a huge time-suck. Think about all the time it takes to plan, buy, install, migrate, decommission, sell the equipment associated with a refresh. From vendor meetings to negotiating, it can take 100’s of hours to complete one refresh.

As an alternative: Just don’t do it.

Instead, define your requirements.

If the solution you are looking for is simply “increase performance” there could be a LOT of ways to solve that issue without having to refresh the entire technology stack.

For instance, let’s say you need 100TB of new capacity and you are considering refreshing your older EMC VNX storage solution and buying a new solution from EMC, Pure, Nimble, NetApp or anyone else. You can either begin the vendor dance and start to get 3-5 of your people involved in the process, or consider your options to solve that capacity issue:

Root Issue: Solve need for additional 100TB


  1. 1. Refresh using new EMC solution: $500K
  2. 2. Refresh using new Pure storage solution: $475K
  3. 3. Free up 100TB via Archive to another storage solution:$0
  4. 4. Add 100TB to the existing EMC box, from your VAR: $175K
  5. 5. Add 100TB to an existing EMC box, from the secondary market: $65,000

The benefits of options 3,4,5:

  • It saves you time. No refresh, just a simple upgrade.
  • It’s cheaper, giving you money to fund other projects.
  • The used option will give you purchasing leverage when you really need a new solution.

To figure out how many hours you could save this year by avoiding a refresh, use this calculation:

Number of refreshes x Number of hours per refresh x Percentage of refreshes that could be solved using another approach.

10 Refreshes x 100 Hours x 60% = 600 hours

Hack #2: Don’t read the book, read or listen to the book summary

We all want to learn, grow and get better. Instead of reading that book your boss just recommended, read the summary – then perhaps read the whole book.

Here is an example of a popular IT book on DevOps “The Phoenix Project”

The phoenix project book summary

Search for a review or summary on Youtube. Here is a quick example.

Hack #3 Employ Time Management Best Practices

There are a lot of time management best practices out there, and Tim Ferris is one of my favorites that dig for gold and provides useful summaries. This is a meta technique to have him find all the good stuff for you and summarize it.

Check out Tim Ferris

https://www.entrepreneur.com/video/287338 (2 minutes)

    1. Large Productive Blocks of Time are proven to help you get more done, instead of being interrupted every 3 hours.
    2. Produce the Right Things
    3. Employ processes that make other workflows unnecessary.

Hack #4 Use the Eisenhower Matrix

We all thought this was invented by Stephen Covey in The 7 Steps of Highly Successful People. Nope, it was first presented by President Eisenhower.

This article goes into the details of the Eisenhower matrix and how to use it. There are tons of applications to use with this in your daily routine.

Hack #5 Stop Operating in Reactive Mode. Make a Proactive Plan with Your Team.

This is a culture shift for a lot of IT teams, but it is worth it. One resource that we have used as a company is Traction which is a book detailing the EOS system. It is a simple book that outlines the steps of bringing strategy to life using a regular cadence of tools, checklists, and meetings.

This takes time and effort, but for Reliant it has been worth it. If you’d ever like to talk about this journey and you are an IT leader, I would be happy to chat with you about lessons learned.

Hack #6: Automate, Automate, Automate

From simple things like using the Checklist Manefesto, to scripts that automate VMware, you can find ways to put more of your tasks on auto-pilot.

VMware provides APIs (Application Programming Interface) to facilitate automation of cloud IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service).

Through the years, consolidating automation scripts using these APIs, a number of packages have evolved that save time and money (OpEx).

For example, the link below highlights a few examples of engineer code that helps perform various common tasks.


At first, these tasks centered on private, on-site infrastructure. Over time, they continued development adding public and hybrid cloud.

This development culminated into the vRealize Suite with some of the components being Orchestrator, Operations, Log Insight, Business, and Automation.

This is obviously specific to data center tasks and VMware.

However, automation in general gives you ability to focus more time on the business objectives, versus the mundane repetitive day to day tasks.

Hack #7: Co-Terminate, Consolidate Agreements & Vendors

Instead of negotiating 35 different hardware agreements across 12 months, end all the support on the same month or day. Better yet, consolidate multiple manufacturers into one contract.

Partners such as Reliant can consolidate Dell EMC, HP, Cisco, Juniper, IBM and over 35 manufacturers onto one contract, so that as your equipment falls off support with the OEM, it picks up with Reliant. This is an example of simplification and automation that makes your life easier.

Start Saving Time Today

Reliant helps people save time and money by:

      1. Avoiding refreshes
      2. Consolidating, simplifying, and co-terminating maintenance agreements
      3. Getting a proactive plan in place to identify savings that can fund other projects

To get a free customized plan and see our 3-step process, simply grab some time from my calendar.

The call will be very simple and straightforward:

      1. We’ll work with you to define a wishlist, including how much time you’d like to save
      2. We’ll help you find some quick wins for savings (both time and money) to fund your wishlist
      3. We’ll establish some next steps

Set up an advisory Contact Us.

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Reid Smith-Vaniz

by Reid Smith-Vaniz

Reid is the founder and CEO of Reliant Technology and for 14 years has pursued his mission to remove the pain associated with maintaining IT infrastructure. Reid writes on common challenges related to maintaining, servicing, tracking, budgeting, and upgrading technology.

Reliant Technology Cares

Reliant Technology Cares

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About Reliant Technology

As Data Center and storage experts, Reliant Technology is available to provide consultations and solutions to your server backup needs. Our experienced engineers and IT specialists are ready to help you determine the best option for your Data Center. If you have a topic you would like to see discussed, or if you would like to submit an article for possible publication, please, get in touch with us.