5 Top Trends in the Data Storage Management Job Market

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The storage management function has shifted heavily of late. Instead of managing internal systems, capacity, and arrays, it has morphed into a hybrid function. Storage managers now must span between on-premises storage and cloud storage. Not only that, they must be able to move data around from cloud to cloud.

Here are some of the top tips to keep you ahead of the trends related to the storage management job market:

1. Embrace All Storage

Storage managers are being forced to embrace the entirety of the enterprise storage universe wherever it may lie. Increasingly their leaders are asking them to generate both deeper and more abundant information on their organizations’ data estates. As data is increasingly sprawled across on-premises infrastructure, dozens of software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications, multiple cloud services, and hundreds, if not more, of employee endpoints, IT leaders are recognizing they do not now have a full understanding of their organization’s data landscape.

“Storage management professionals who can provide these leaders with this understanding will enable their organizations to implement stronger security postures, improve data privacy and other types of risk management, and enhance their organization’s cloud storage and other resource utilization,” said Don Foster, global VP of sales engineering at CommVault.

“They will also pave the way for strategic digital transformation projects that analyze their organization’s data for insights on how to increase customer engagement, streamline their supply chains, automate business processes, and improve other business outcomes.”

The good news is that data management tools, including new data management-as-a-service (DMaaS) applications, are making it possible for storage professionals to achieve a clear understanding of their data estate, despite expanding data sprawl. Those with the knowledge and skills required to use these tools to provide visibility on their organizations’ continuously evolving and growing data estates will find themselves at the center of their organizations’ digital transformation and modernization initiatives.

2. Enable Digital Transformation 

Rather than sticking rigidly to old ways, a better approach is to align with strategic initiatives. A big one currently is digital transformation. Anyone engaged in it needs all the help they can get on the storage management and integration side. After all, exponential data growth combined with today’s work-from-anywhere paradigm and the rampant ransomware threat have driven increasing challenges as well as an ever-increasing demand for storage management professionals. 

In fact, storage management has been experiencing a progression from the back office to the front and garnering more and more face time with not just the CIO, but the entire C-suite. This is because the C-suite now recognizes that the many challenges being faced are not just IT issues, but can have a very direct impact on the business and are tied into digital transformation. 

“For those that are considering a career in storage management, areas of educational and training focus should include learning how to enable digital transformation strategies that allow organizations to improve and enhance the way they store, manage, and protect data at scale,” said Surya Varanasi, CTO at StorCentric.

“Storage management professionals that really want to kick their skills up a notch should make sure they learn how to manage as many different heterogeneous platforms and environments as possible — from on-prem to remote and into the cloud.”

3. Learn Data Migration Proficiency

Storage managers used to deal with data movement in a simpler way. They were tasked with moving data from an old array to a new one, transferring data from a unit that was near capacity to another one, and sending data to tape archives. But the data migration market has exploded as data in vast quantities is moved from on-premises to the cloud and back again and from cloud to cloud. That’s why the data migration market should be worth nearly $11.5 billion by the end of 2022, and it should double again by 2026.

But moving so much data around is challenging. 

“If data is compromised, organizations risk having their projects delayed, completely halted, risk huge compliance fines, or face reputational damages to their organization,” said Carl D’Halluin, CTO at Datadobi.

“Data management processes that uphold the value of customer data are more important than ever.”

Storage managers, therefore, should become experts at dealing with the intricacies of data migration. They should learn how to use the latest generation of migration tools that incorporate features such as quality assurance, risk assessment, account management, and security.

See more: Top 10 Data Storage Certifications

4. Become a Cloud-to-Cloud Migration Expert

Storage managers in recent years have mainly had to deal with sending data to and from the cloud. But cloud-to-cloud migration has risen greatly in importance. Companies are either finding better deals with different hyperscalers, are deciding to not store all their data eggs in one cloud, or are using multiple clouds for added data protection and disaster recovery (DR). Whatever the reason, storage managers who can master all this shuffling around of storage will be a prized possession. When done incorrectly, costs can escalate, and data loss incidents or corruption can occur.

“There is a definite trend of moving data and apps cost effectively and in a timely manner from one cloud to another,” said Greg Schulz, an analyst with StorageIO Group.

5. Storage as the New Dream Job

Storage management is no longer simply about ensuring disk and tape drives are properly connected, monitored, and maintained. Any data can be stored anywhere and any way — physically or virtually and locally or remotely. As a result, the storage manager is now a much more crucial and integral part of the overall IT strategy of most organizations. 

With increased responsibilities, roles in data and storage management require higher levels of training as well a host of tools and equipment that need to be used. Today’s storage managers are required to not only manage data but to ensure data is safe from hackers and possible security breaches. Data needs to be stored, kept safe, and made instantly and continuously available, and this requires careful planning, advanced technology solutions, and constant vigilance.

“When people commence a career in IT, they don’t immediately think of storage as their dream role,” said Brent Skalicky,chief human resources officer at Arcserve.

“However, in the modern IT world, data is king, and data will always need storage. The prevalence of the cloud has elevated the importance of data to a new level, and this means working in storage is also a more attractive, exciting, and lucrative role.”

Drew Robb
Drew Robb
Drew Robb is a contributing writer for Datamation, Enterprise Storage Forum, eSecurity Planet, Channel Insider, and eWeek. He has been reporting on all areas of IT for more than 25 years. He has a degree from the University of Strathclyde UK (USUK), and lives in the Tampa Bay area of Florida.

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