The Virtual Mind-set

Storage staffers can make the leap to managing virtual environments, but not without targeted training.

1 2 3 Page 2
Page 2 of 3

The importance of those technical and process interrelationships in storage virtualization efforts also helps explain why there's strong demand for IT professionals who have ITIL process-transformation experience, says Brian Brouillett, vice president of data center services at Hewlett-Packard Co.

Homegrown Talent

Meanwhile, IT organizations crafting their own virtualized storage environments often use their existing SAN or NAS technologies and draw on IT staffers who are experienced with them, says Rick Villars, an analyst at market research firm IDC. Employees who are adept at tuning system performance and optimizing system utilization can help make those technologies more cost-effective in a virtualized environment, he says.

For at least some members of Share, an IBM user group, the goal is to simplify their organizations' virtualization efforts as much as possible "so you don't have to go out and find a storage virtualization expert," says Robert Rosen, a past president of Share and CIO at the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases in Bethesda, Md. Instead, many IT managers are opting to tap "well-rounded" systems administrators who can be trained, Rosen says.

That might also be a more financially prudent approach. According to David Foote, chief research officer at management consultancy Foote Partners LLC, the average base pay for senior SAN administrators in the U.S. is $96,478. Foote Partners doesn't classify storage virtualization as a separate job category because those tasks are typically a component of what a SAN administrator does, says Foote. Nevertheless, IT professionals with such skills have commanded a 6.7% compensation increase over the past six months, he says.

Foote says employers prefer to develop their own IT staffers with virtualization skills -- including those with sought-after security and networking acumen -- instead of hiring contractors. That's partly because contract workers with such skills "don't come cheap," he notes.

Although most employers look for technicians with specific types of storage and virtualization expertise -- including iSCSI and Fibre Channel experience -- having a solid storage management background is a critical asset, says Babu Kudaravalli, senior director of operations for the business technology services division at National Medical Health Card Systems Inc. (NMHC) in Port Washington, N.Y.

"It's a very laborious and manual process to deploy storage," he says. "You have to have an expert or experts who absolutely know what they're doing to manage the storage."

1 2 3 Page 2
Page 2 of 3
7 inconvenient truths about the hybrid work trend
Shop Tech Products at Amazon