Network managers can fill the storage manager's remit, says Correy Voo.
According to the latest figures from the Yankee Group, 56% of storage used in enterprises will be networked by the end of 2003.
Most organisations now accept that direct attached storage is no longer an efficient way to manage data. By sharing capacity between applications, networked storage provides scalability and superior management and accessibility.
However, IT directors should not expect this to be the panacea for all their storage ills. The shift has seen storage move from the server to a position somewhere between the server and the network. As very few people have knowledge of both, a skills shortage has emerged.
So, what qualities should today's storage manager be able to demonstrate?
Fibre channel, the most widely used protocol for networked storage, is a network in its own right, requiring switching configuration, bandwidth allocation and a knowledge of performance management. Therefore, basic networking skills are essential.
As companies have, traditionally, taken a piecemeal approach to storage, it is rare for a storage environment to comprise one supplier's systems. Storage managers must be able to integrate disparate pieces of kit.
Increasing awareness of pay-as-you-go computing is driving interest in utility storage. Today's storage manager needs an understanding of capacity on demand and of dealing with the ebb and flow of network traffic.
Finally, managing a networked storage environment requires a holistic view that transcends typical organisational divisions.
Although direct attached storage has, traditionally, fallen within the remit of the server manager, a network manager's expertise fits more closely with these requirements. If organisations are to manage complex networked storage environments, today's network managers might just be the people for the job.
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Correy Voo is head of business technology solutions at BT Global Services