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Holistic storage management: Cross-training admins

We are a midsized company with 2500 employees and 4.5 TB of data. We have six server administrators for HP server (80), OS, server-based applications, our SAN and tape backups. We have a dedicated network group and a user administration group taking care of users' accounts, passwords, shares and permissions. How do we size up to other organizations? Today, we have projects asking for 24/7 coverage but we haven't been able to properly provide it to them. Any advice on TB/admin or managing what we have?

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The number of TB/admin varies across the board. Some organizations have a better ratio of storage to admin, and some worse. In general, my advice would be to try to get some of the other admins cross-trained to help support storage management functions. As servers and storage functions continue to converge like we are seeing with blade servers and virtual memory, it will become more important for server admins to be able to support storage, and storage admins to know more about servers. I realize that in many environments politics and organizational boundaries make this difficult; however, if you can achieve some improvements in cross-training you will be on the road as well to a more holistic TCO savings as well.

This was first published in September 2004

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