Now before you send flowers and a note of condolence to your IT department, please be assured this is not a literal declaration. The above snowclone is based on a traditional proclamation made following the accession of a new monarch immediately after the passing of the old. It’s a fitting proclamation, since many of the storage admins we meet talk about how the changing IT landscape is impacting their roles and leading them to develop new skills to keep pace.
The role of a storage administrator was introduced over 25 years ago when IT organizations began to separate their storage infrastructure from their compute and network infrastructure. There were many benefits of separating these decisions. IT could choose best of breed storage with more performance and better TCO. They could consolidate and share storage across heterogeneous server environments, leading to improved utilization and simplified management. Finally, to protect the variety of mission critical apps, the storage administrator could implement a common data protection and business continuity strategy by taking advantage of common storage-level advanced replication and recovery services.
As storage infrastructures became more strategic to the business, IT organizations invested in resources with specialized skills and deep technical expertise, aka the storage admin. As a wise storage admin once told me, the reason why this role was so important is that “you can reboot the server, and you can resend the packet, but you can’t lose the data”. While new technologies such as virtualization, converged infrastructure, management orchestration, and automation have impacted how IT infrastructure is deployed and managed, the need to effectively store, secure, protect and manage the data remains. (more…)