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The Dying Administrator

By Steve Jones,

http://www.zib.de/HPC/serv/SAN.JPGCould the job of the SAN administrator be dying? Say it isn't so. It is possible that we would just have the system administrators going back to allocating storage themselves for individual systems? This article talks about how IT employees must learn to be more stove-piped in their delivery of systems and services instead of individuals broken out in certain skill areas. It mentions the storage administrator as a dying job.

I'm not certain that I like that id ea, especially as storage systems become larger and more complex. I could argue that the network administrators might be the closest skillset to managing and handling large storage systems, but I'm not sure. If an IT department is indeed a series of armed camps, it's not a skills challenge we have, it's a cultural issue among different groups. Delivering a service or a set of applications to a user requires different talents and skills working together, not removing people from the loop. It requires a forging of new relationships, not the elimination of old ones.

A SAN administrator has a different focus than his clients. He or she must deal with ever growing space usage requirements and very high uptime requirements from clients, and at the same time ensure that enough resources are available, negotiating the purchase of additional resources if required. They deal with a specialized type of technology that outsiders often don't understand. If you think about it, this is a lot of what a database administrator does as well, just with a different type of technology.

I've struggled to deal with SAN administrators in the past, but some of that has been because they have a different focus. The SAN admin must deal with space allocation and answer for the use of those resources. I just want space to ensure my databases keep running. The issues for me has typically been the measurement of SAN administration as a cost item we try to reduce rather than as  a service we try to deliver, which is how I've been measured as a DBA. Changing that might make all the difference in the world.

Steve Jones


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