It’s Still All About The Management

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SAN DIEGO — CIOs and IT managers are still wrestling with the same storage management difficulties, according to attendees at this week’s Storage Networking World conference.

36% of users polled during the conference cited managing storage infrastructure as their top storage challenge, with IT budget constraints right behind. Cost continues to be a major sticking point, both in purchase of new equipment and maintenance of current infrastructures.

Storage management difficulties have been well documented in Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) surveys, and according to SNW attendees, they remain a major problem facing storage administrators.

Dave Dully, CTO of Baptist Health, spoke for many users when he said that the need to right-size solutions is critical because costs associated with implementing and maintaining high availability systems are unprecedented.

Storage management challenges also extend to staffing. Robert Stevenson, managing director of research firm The InfoPro, said challenges facing storage professionals include making the case for business and backup growth, consolidation and staffing. Users agreed, citing the lack of seasoned storage professionals, and one power user confessed that he has had two open reqs for more than a year for experienced SAN managers.

Users appear anxious to learn new skills to cope with those challenges. SNIA expanded its hands-on lab sessions at the conference, delivering to almost 300 users “learn before you leap” sessions in IP storage, storage management and storage virtualization.

Building simple SANs created quite a buzz. A zero to SAN in 120 minutes hands-on lab drew three times the seating capacity for every session. According to instructor Darrell Kleckley of, the session attracted storage and systems managers from a variety of experience levels and industries, including education, finance, government and healthcare.

Other end user concerns at the conference included data protection, disaster recovery and the realities of information lifecycle management (ILM). The line is becoming blurred between mission critical data and everything else. Continuous data protection (CDP) is a reality at a number of corporations large and small, with compliance issues driving tiered storage architectures, content addressing schemes, and the “100-year problem” of maintaining and recovering data to meet regulatory demands.

A panel discussion of records information managers (RIMs) and IT professionals, sponsored by the San Diego chapter of the Association of Records Managers and Administrators (ARMA) and the SNIA End User Council, explored what ILM means from their different perspectives. IT saw the issue as away to move data to less expensive storage, while RIMs look at records across their entire lifecycle, with IT integration part of the picture when exploring ways to retrieve content. All panelists agreed that dialogue between these two areas is critical in every corporation, moving forward to jointly address issues of compliance and regulatory requirements.

Editor’s note: Marty Foltyn will speak at a free webcast on storage management difficulties on May 9.

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