While there is much emphasis on the value to be derived from software and hardware, with many competing methods of measuring TCO and ROI. The lore surrounding what a storage manager ought to be able to deliver is more confused. John Webster, founder of the Data Mobility Group, says he sees numbers floating around the industry that vary considerably and don't seem to relate to the very real variations encountered in the field.
According to Webster, a number of published reports have tried to give a firm number to the amount of storage an administrator should be responsible for. However, as Webster notes, storage professionals tell him the reality is that the specifics of an application or a particular infrastructure can completely frustrate any such measurement scheme.
"This is something that needs to be looked at on an application-by-application basis," says Webster. "If an administrator has to spend an inordinate amount of time managing a database that only takes up 400 or 500 Gbytes, then that's going to skew the metric," he points out. Indeed, ads for storage professionals often do emphasize the total amount of storage to be administered.
Webster suggests that if your organization needs another "body" to help with storage administration you should be prepared to document the time needed to manage storage for all your applications. That way it may be possible to get around one-size-fits-all thinking and simple formulas that suggest every administrator should be able to manage a certain number of terabytes of data.
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About the author: Alan Earls is a freelance writer in Franklin, MA.