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Build the ultimate storage team

Learn why your storage team should be made up of people with experience in a variety of disciplines, such as networking, server administration and budgetary planning.

What you will learn from this tip: Learn why your storage team should be made up of people with experience in a variety of disciplines, such as networking, capacity planning, server administration and budgetary planning.

The two most important assets to any company are its employees and data. Among the employees in your organization, none are more important than the folks who are tasked with keeping your data flowing and protected. The process of selecting the right people for your storage team is critical to the smooth functioning of your business.

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The technical skills of storage professionals must be wide and deep. They must be proficient in almost all areas of technology, plus they must have management skills and understand the overriding needs of the business. When choosing your team, the best approach is to look inside your organization for key individuals who posses these skills, and give them an opportunity for advancement into the storage team. Your storage folks will be constantly challenged with new and exciting technologies that will keep even the geekiest of your tech gurus happy.

The individuals in your storage team should have experience in the following areas:

  • Deep operating system (OS) knowledge for all the systems in your enterprise
  • Database administration
  • Performance tuning
  • Disaster recovery
  • Backup administration
  • Network administration
  • Optical networking
  • Technical writing
  • Procedural design and analysis
  • Storage network design and administration
  • Data center change control
  • Storage: DAS, NAS, JBOD, RAID, ATA, SATA, FC, SAS, all tape formats
  • Computing architectures: Peer-peer, client/server, GRID, cluster, mainframe, blade, virtual servers
  • Natural ability for troubleshooting complex problems
  • Negotiation skills for dealing with equipment purchases
  • Storage industry knowledge (SNIA standards, ITIL standards, IETF and IEEE standards and RFC papers)
  • Storage networking acronyms (so they understand the lingo from vendors)

As you can see from the list above, your storage team needs to be fairly astute in a number of diverse disciplines, so you want to create your team from the best of the best.

For an effective team, choose individuals from the following disciplines:

  • Networking
  • Database administration
  • Capacity planning
  • Technology office
  • Compliance office
  • Mainframe administration
  • Server administration (one from each OS discipline)
  • Business development (for better IT alignment)
  • Budgetary planning
  • Management

Once your team is in place, they will need to get further training on the critical components that make up your storage infrastructure and data management principles in general. Your vendors will be more than happy to set up training classes. For those seeking more advanced skills, SNIA has created vendor neutral certification exams for storage professionals, which will enhance the career opportunities for your team and help provide your organization with highly qualified individuals.

If your storage team will also be making critical purchasing decisions, you may want to facilitate their access to storage industry events like Storage Decisions, SNIA forums and Storage Networking World. Your team can network with their peers to help make more intelligent decisions on which technology others within your industry vertical are using to solve their business problems.

Your storage team makes sure applications hum, service agreements are met, systems stay up and that data is secure, protected, compliant and recoverable; this makes your customers happy. Choose wisely so that you may live long and prosper.

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About the author: Christopher Poelker is the co-author of SAN for Dummies.

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