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SM2003: Man the controls or drown in storage

One expert at the Storage Management 2003 conference believes that applying people to the storage management problem is the only way to survive the data wave.

CHICAGO -- Hardware and software are great but, when it comes to storage management, don't forget the human touch. That was the message that Ray Paquet, a vice president and research director with Gartner Inc., conveyed to a group of more than 400 storage professionals this week at the Storage Management 2003 Conference.

"The vast majority of costs today are in the hardware, and the first solution for many is to throw hardware at the problem," Paquet said.

The dangers of adding disks instead of managing and using existing storage capacity are real. According to Paquet, "What will happen if we continue is we'll create something so significantly complex that God him or herself wouldn't be able to manage it."

Paquet added that technology alone wouldn't stop a bleeding IT budget. "If we don't apply people to the problem, it's not going to get managed," he said.

Assigning a team of personnel primarily to storage was not on the map for most managers a year ago, but times they are a-changing.

When polled, 34% of the storage users in attendance said that systems administrators managed their storage, but an impressive 32% said they had a dedicated storage management staff.

However, not all companies have the will or the resources to organize a storage-only management team.

An IT manager for an industrial chemical company who wanted to remain anonymous said he hasn't seen the need to designate storage-only staffers. He said that, since hardware is so cheap and he deals with just a half-terabyte of storage, he could keep buying disks, rather than setting up a management structure.

Another user, Steven Rubinow, chief technology officer for Archipelago LLC, a Chicago-based company that provides the world's largest all-electronic securities exchange, has tasked system administrators with part-time storage management roles. "We don't have masses of people," he said. "We're lean and mean."

But Rubinow isn't ruling out the creation of a storage management group within Archipelago. "It could very well be in the future," he said.


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Let us know what you think of this story. E-mail Kevin Komiega, News Writer

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