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The channel is familiar with the buying patterns changing with the traditional contacts in the IT departments at customers losing some of their budget to lines of business and there are real challenges for those used to dealing with storage administrators.
With data management systems making life increasingly easier for the user the need for the traditional storage admin is changing and as a result the conversations that the channel has with buyers is also having to widen.
One of the themes of the NetApp Insight event in Berlin was how the world is transforming and there are changes happening to those responsible for looking after data at a customer level as a result of automation and improved management tools.
NetApp recently showcased its 'zero touch' storage message at VMWorld handing those running the virtualised systems the ability to also add other storage from its SolidFire product to automate the management.
"It is a change because it is the first time we see a huge shift because suddenly you don't need the storage administrators doing the same stuff that they did in the past ebcause it is obsolte because of the integration into the stacks, like VMware," said Peter Wust, senior director emerging solutions & innovation group EMEA at NetApp.
He said that there would be a need for storage administrators in the future and they would not completely die out, but their role would change.
"They will be less and probably the name changes," he added that the firms which still chart their storage on spreadsheets from application to server would find the latest systems, with a guranteed quality of service, that need would be removed.
"That was a core part that people spent time on if they were storage administrators. I would say those storage administrators of the future should be data managers," he added "Managing the data in a hetrogenous world, in the cloud and of the cloud, which is linked back to GDPR and the compliance regulations that people in specific verticals fall under, that's an area that is untouched today."
As the storage expert changes their role to become the person accountable for data management it is going to have an impact on the sales conversation.
"There are new buyers. In the new world of dev ops, cloud, public cloud those are not the classical roles that NetApp approached in the past. We approached the storage infrastructure teams, that was our home turf. There are other teams, other people and another language and we have to go there. We have started that journey," said Wust.