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SD2002: Duplessie on why profitability rules

What's the big deal about storage as a utility? If you're a storage administrator under the gun by your top guns to turn your department into a profit-maker, you know what the big deal is. Money.

Steve Duplessie, founder and analyst with the Enterprise Storage Group, Milford, Mass., and a speaker at the Storage Decision 2002 conference being conducted next month in Chicago, talks to Senior Editor Kate Evans-Correia about how profitability is a key driver for storage administrators and offers insights into how to become a profit center, not a cost center.

What's the big deal about storage as a utility?
IT is a cost center. Cost centers tend to be tactical, not strategic. If we turn IT into a profit center it instantly becomes strategic. What's the cost benefit? And when can it be realized?
It will require a retooling of not only technology but the way IT thinks. Every transaction should be profitable. The key is to truly understand the cost of delivering very specific service levels — by application, user community, line of business, etc. I think within five years everyone is going to be on board. Is this the direction you believe most companies will follow?
They have to. The economy has turned sour and being a cost center is way uncool. What will be the driving factor to make this move?
Money. You make money, you get whatever you want. You take money, you get diddly. How will this model affect software management vendors?
The operational software management players are critical ingredients to making this happen. Automation becomes critical as well.

Duplessie will also go more in-depth about storage as a utility at his session titled " Considerations for Building a Storage Utility - Bring IT to a Profit Center." For a detailed summary of Duplessie's presentation and look at the conference agenda go to the Storage Decisions Web site at Storage Decisions 2002 conference this September in Chicago.

Name three things a storage administrator needs to do/think about before making the move.
1. Understand exactly where you are, what you have, and why.

2. Reset expectations to senior management — what can you deliver and what you can't. Don't let misconceptions continue. If it ain't good enough, someone has to belly up some dough.

3. Build a top-down strategy — understanding that everything you do moving forward has to fit into a "this-will-make-money" model.

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