By Alan Earls

CSO -- the abbreviation for Chief Storage Officer -- was supposed to be an acronym on the tip of everyone's tongue by now, at least according to press reports and optimistic storage execs quoted three or four years ago.

Take, for example, Michael C. Ruettgers, the CEO of storage giant EMC. At Uniforum '97, held in March of that year, Ruettgers hailed the incipient acceptance of the storage kingpin on par with CFOs and CIOs, as the next logical step for the IT industry. And, given the breakneck spending on storage and absolute growth in storage capacity even back then, it seemed a reasonable premise.

But try finding anyone these days with CSO on their business card and you may have some trouble. Indeed, we asked more than half a dozen recruitment pros (including executive recruiters) whether they had ever heard of the term chief storage officer and got all thumbs down responses.

But, that may not be the end of the story. Storage is getting more critical and storage skills are a critical enterprise asset, thus, says analyst Steve Duplessie, of Enterprise Storage Group, the storage responsibility will likely become an elevated title -- "VP of storage infrastructure, or something similar" -- but will likely still report to the CIO.

"The CSO is the CIO. Storage is a bunch of zeroes and ones -- information is what you do with them," he adds.

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