Dedicated storage staffers

I recently read a story about how some companies are thinking about creating dedicated storage resources -- people who will manage storageacross all platforms, for the entire company. While I do think this is bound to happen eventually, and that it certainly should happen, it's not going to take place anytime soon. I hope I'm wrong, but here's my thought process on this.

It's certainly true that more than half of new hardware purchases relate to storage, on average, and that only around half, on average, of most storage systems are ever used to their capacity. It makes great sense for folks who know what they're doing to manage this expensive and under-utilized resource, but we haven't always done what makes sense.

First off, the storage function has been scattered around most companies like so many fall leaves on a football field. Finding the true storage experts, as opposed to those who deal with the issue as a relativelysmall part of their job, isn't necessarily easy. Second, storage isn't "sexy." It doesn't have the political clout of, say, application development or the Next Big Thing, whatever that might be. Storage has been around forever and always will be. It's taken very much for granted.

Third, in these days of economic woes, most companies are consolidating.

While that could auger well for dedicated storage folks - it certainly should - it also means doing more with less. If you're among thosetapped for this new organization, don't expect more money for learning new operating systems and automated software tools.

Here's my guess: companies will finally deal with server sprawl during the next year or two. As the economy struggles to right itself, companies will clean house much the same way most of us do when we are out of space and have time on our hands. We clear out the cabinets andfinally throw away the old worn towels only when we have to. Companies aren't that different than individuals - mostly because they're run by people, and mostly because people do the same kinds of things, give or take.

Okay, so the Great Server Consolidation will happen. As it does, I believe the data center folks will be assigned the charge for making sense of storage because they already know how to do that. Most of thesestaffers already know mainframe and Unix systems, and will need to learn Windows and maybe Linux. That's not a big deal. But my point is that they will create a dedicated storage group by default. The crown will be grabbed, not awarded.

But that's okay. Because even if they don't get huge raises for pioneering the art and science of storage, they'll be able to put it on their resumes. The economy is bound to improve someday.

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