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TB per administrator

Hello, we are considering creating a storage management group from within a current technical support staff which consists of one storage administrator for MVS. This new group will also be responsible for managing data on the NT and the AIX platform as well as MVS. Responsibilities would include daily support, satisfying allocation requests, monitoring, developing strategies, capacity planning, backup/restore and DR. Our storage environment currently consists of about 10TB on disk and 100+TB on tape. Is there an industry rule of thumb on how many storage administrators would be needed to comprise such a workload? ie: x amount of TB per administrator.

Your response would be appreciated.


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It's difficult to provide a rule of thumb on how many storage managers are required per x TB. The reasons are multiple:

  • Is the storage centrally located or distributed?
  • What tools are used to help manage, HSM, ERP...?
  • Experience and quality of managers.
  • Different OSs are easier than others to manage which affect TCO including storage management resources.

The comment I will make is that you are heading in the right direction by assigning resources directly responsible for storage. In too many organizations, storage management is performed in crisis mode and is just one of many responsibilities of a small number of people. With the explosion in disk space consumption it is becoming increasingly important to ensure these resources are managed properly. The management of these resources is the major contributing factor to TCO. Multiple studies show that management of storage hardware will be ten times the cost of the hardware itself. One way to control this cost is to become more efficient. Your inception of a management team is an appropriate course of action. WQuinn's (http://www.wquinn.com/) experience in working with companies with similar storage capacities is as follows:

1) A small number of administrators spearhead storage management issues (3 to 5 people). This is dependent on the distribution of storage and storage platforms.
2) Appropriate utilities are utilized for space allocation, reporting, capacity planning and centralized management.
3) As storage policies are enforced, certain responsibilities are delegated down. For example, if quotas are implemented, the help desk may be able to increase quotas to a certain amount based on corporate policies.
4) Different platforms have different space and storage management requirements. For example, NT shares grow at a faster rate then Unix shares due to the functionalities of the servers, hence they have different management requirements and costs.
5) Distributed storage has a higher cost of management (and human resources) than centralized storage.
6) With appropriate Storage Resource Management (SRM) policies and utilities in place, the cost of managing an additional TB of storage is lower than the previous TB of storage (Economies of Scale).

I hope this helps!


This was first published in June 2001

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