Storage Specialists Could Become an Endangered Species

Everywhere you go these days it seems like some vendor is going out of its way to make it easier for some else on the IT staff to do their job.

Companies such as F5 Networks now make it easier for network managers to manage storage systems. Vendors have also been building a new generation of unified servers that makes storage a subset of the integrated whole. And now storage vendors such as FalconStor Software are partnering with VMware to make it easier for the people who manage virtual machines to also manage the physical storage arrays attached to those virtual servers.

With all this integration, it's little wonder if some storage specialists are starting to feel a little paranoid. It seems just about every vendor out there has some sort of offering in place that promises to lower the total cost of computing by eliminating the need for dedicated storage specialists.

Of course, on the other side of the equation is the simple fact that amount of data that needs to be stored and managed is nearly doubling every year. So maybe what this means is that storage managers are becoming too busy to tactically manage the storage requirements of every application and server in the enterprise.
Most likely, what is really happening is that storage managers are spending more of their time on strategic issues and as a result allocating the tactical management of blocks of storage to network, server and application managers.

Of course, there a lot of IT organizations that can't afford storage specialists in the first place. The IT department usually consists of a handful of people that need to be jacks of all IT trades. So anything that simplifies IT management at any level is always welcome.

But there are more than a handful of storage specialists in the IT departments of Fortune 1000 companies that might want to take a moment in the coming months to make sure they are not just glorified maintenance workers waiting for the day when someone says their services are no longer required.

The question is how many strategic storage specialists will be required versus all the tactical specialists that are in place today?

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