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Wanted: ITIL, encryption experience
The time is right for ITIL, plenty of storage professionals agree. With Version 3 released last May, many storage managers are concentrating on the underlying principles of ITIL, formalizing change management in a way that increases productivity and eases technology adoption.

"If a person has exposure to ITIL, and you're implementing processes based on ITIL in your organization, then that's of value to us," says Stewart Hubbard, director of technology engineering at Coldwater Creek Inc., a Coeur d'Alene, ID-based women's apparel retailer. The retailer credits ITIL methods (and service management products from BMC Software Inc.) for drastically improving its service desk ticket system. That being said, it's not going to disqualify someone if they don't have that knowledge. "Once they get here, they definitely need to understand the importance of change management and subscribe to the policies and procedures that we have in place," says Hubbard.

Hubbard also places a premium on storage professionals who have worked in a publicly traded company and firms that accept credit cards, making them subject to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard. "Encryption is really important to us," he notes.

Storage professionals have to be more concerned about data protection and security than ever before,

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says Jon Oltsik, senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group, Milford, MA, who began his career at EMC Corp. and worked in storage before focusing on networks and security. "For a long time, there was simply no knowledge of security in the storage domain," he says. Now, says Oltsik, storage professionals must focus on securing IP networks, and configuring and controlling role-based access. "If you believe, as I do, that 2008 will be a big year for gigabyte or 10 Gig, and a big year for IP-based storage--whether it's iSCSI or IP--that brings in some real security concerns."

Open storage reqs
David Gabler, senior corporate recruiter at Lowe's, the nationwide home improvement retailer, recently posted job reqs for a storage engineer and a storage engineer project manager. Some of the skills Gabler listed for the storage engineer position included: "Ability to apply knowledge of SAN fabric architecture, information lifecycle management, migration planning, technology scaling and performance tuning ..." as well as EMC-specific software products knowledge. The storage engineer project manager job listing read in part: "Participate in managing enterprise disaster recovery infrastructure. Experience with large enterprise storage environments (50TB-plus)."

Both jobs require "great communication and so-called soft skills," says Gabler. That means "the ability to understand the storage space and how it impacts business. We have a dedicated storage department and that department needs to be well represented throughout the organization."

Two months later (at the time of this writing), both jobs remain open. "The technical skills are hard enough to find," says Gabler. "But it's the management angle, especially for the PM job, that's really challenging [to find]."

If it's any consolation to Gabler, a lot of other companies are in the same boat and looking for the same skill sets.

This was first published in February 2008

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