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10 questions with Bill Johnson

Managing contracts from large storage vendors is no easy task. Bill Johnson, IT Contract Manager, Woodside Energy Ltd. in Perth, Australia has his hands full in these agreements each day. Bill is the first IT manager to step into the SearchStorage hotseat and participate in "10 questions with".

What does your environment look like?
We have 3000 PC desktops, 200 Unix workstations running oil & gas applications. Our computer room is split between HP/Compaq Windows and Sun Solaris servers. 50 TB raw online, 200 TB nearline in two [Storage Tek] Powderhorn silos. Mostly Sun/HDSdisk (HDS9960, StorEdge9980). Moving to 9940B tape technology. 20 TB SAMfs HSM system also. What projects are you currently working on and what kind of daily challenges do they present?
Two major projects at the moment are the tender for a new second site (more than a disaster recovery location) and also the installation of three immersive rooms (aka "Reality Centres") in the new office tower we move to later this year. Do you choose products, recommend, or no involvement in this process?
I am the IT Contracts Manager now, but I liaise closely with the infrastructure team on the hardware and software roadmap. Are you the only person that manages your storage? How are the responsibilities divvied up?
This year, I'm responsible for the contractual side of things. I work closely with the Infrastructure Manager on strategy. The server team leader looks after day-to-day storage issues, everything from capacity requests to break/fix. If there is one thing you would change about the storage industry, what would it be?
It would be nice if the vendors played better together. The balance of certification versus support exposure is a difficult one. What advice would you give to new storage professional?
Seize every opportunity to sell your ideas at every level of the organization. How did you get your start in storage/IT? What is your technical background?
I actually count myself lucky in that I seem to be in the first wave of people who have computer education right back to High School. Today I find that background really useful to call on. I started in England with a Computer Science A-Level and went on to complete an honors degree in Computer Systems Engineering at the University of Bristol. My career started with two years with Andersen Consulting as a sysadmin on Pyramid and HP Unix servers running Informix. Who do you work for now?
Woodside Energy Ltd., Perth Western Australia. What are some of your hobbies away from the data center?
I am a registered group fitness instructor and take BODYPUMP and BODYCOMBAT classes for Fitness First. More of my background including bio and resume is available here:

Do you want to be profiled by Have someone you'd like to see profiled? E-mail us and let us know who you'd like to see profiled. What's a typical day for you look like?
I manage the larger IT contracts (Sun, Microsoft etc) and so have the normal cycle of account management, monthly meetings etc. We have a formal contracts review committee and I spend much of my time with the preparation/syndication of business cases, tenders and request-for-award type documents. I lead most IT negotiations and work up benefits realization reviews.

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