Feature

Editorial: People and power

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Those of us who work for tech magazines are sometimes accused of looking beyond the horizon too often. There may be some truth to that, but part of our job is trying to discern the future. And while we know you want the scoop on the latest and greatest, we also know your hands are full just managing your shops. So while it's tempting for editors and writers to ascend an ivory tower now and then, we need to talk with--and listen to--the people who manage storage day in and day out. That's why we're frequently on the phone with some of you, and why we corner even more of you at conferences and trade shows.

The storage shows held each spring provide us with a great opportunity to hear what's going on in your shops. A recurring theme--maybe more ongoing than recurring--is how tough it is to find qualified storage pros. That is, if you're lucky enough to have a slot or two to fill. Storage still gets a small slice of the entire IT budget; as a result, the pool of talented workers is limited. Convincing management to shell out some serious money to hire and retain a solid storage staff is no easy task.

For a lot of you, the challenge is managing more capacity without increasing staff. In our most recent Purchasing Intentions survey (see "

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Storage managers in control" Storage, May 2007), nearly 50% of respondents said "Manage more storage with the same staff" is the prime criterion for acquiring storage management software. That's the highest level we've seen for that factor, making it clear the storage staffing problem isn't getting any better.

Another survey, conducted by Symantec, corroborates our findings. In that report, 74% of Symantec's respondents said "Decreasing headcount is one of the biggest challenges in managing complex environments."

But there may be a light at the end of the staffing tunnel. While compliance and e-discovery efforts put more pressure on the storage establishment, they also represent an opportunity. By taking on these new responsibilities, storage managers will be better positioned to plead their case that storage is strategically important. This should make it easier to justify hiring more storage staffers.

This was first published in July 2007

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