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How many admins does it take to manage a terabyte?

In this tip, storage management expert Brett Cooper tells a reader if there's a rule-of-thumb on how many storage admins should be on staff per terabyte of data.

Ed note: A reader wants to know if there is an industry rule-of-thumb on how many storage administrators...

should be on staff per terabyte of data? Here is's storage management expert Brett Cooper's answer:

There have been several reports from analysts that go into the requirements for storage administrators based on a specific vendor's storage products but, I haven't seen nor heard of any specific ratios that have been established of storage administrators to overall storage pool.

This may be a very hard number to quantify as I have seen a large disparity in the number of storage administrators to the total storage pool size, everywhere from a couple in a 50 terabyte environment to five in a 20TB environment but this was based on the storage devices being used and the SLAs in place more than the size of the storage pool.

Also, when you look at the storage administrator numbers, are you including the number of vendor personnel involved in the management of the environment or is this just a number of actual company employees that manage storage? Tape backup included? As you can see from my comments, this is a bit harder than just looking at the storage pool but actual looking at the roles that each admin has and the goals of the organization.

Let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

For more information:

Tip: Best practices for provisioning storage

Tip: Best practices of storage management

Tip: Tactical vs. functional storage management

About the author: Brett Cooper is a Technical Marketing Engineer, Network Appliance, Inc., as well as's storage management/best practices expert.

This was last published in February 2004

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