Is your data storage strategy doomed?
As Big Data projects become mission critical, businesses are being forced to increase their storage capacity. Although Cloud platforms can pick up some of the slack, issues with latency mean that real-time systems still need data to be stored locally.
Even those businesses not engaged with Big Data are running out of capacity as average file sizes, databases and email stores continue to grow exponentially.
Unsurprisingly, 60% of CTOs plan to purchase new storage solutions in the near future. 55% intend to manage capacity demands by completing a hardware refresh too. Obviously the technical issues are in hand – but there’s more to successful data storage planning than raw capacity.
The human factor
A new deployment typically requires additional human resources for the duration of the project – either specialist consultants, or extra technicians to ensure minimal impact on existing operations. But once the installation has been completed, staffing levels return to their pre-project levels.
The problem is that the data centre estate continues to expand. In almost every case capacity projects involve adding more storage – so the number of systems in use also increases. Which means that demands on the data centre engineering team also increase.
Current staffing levels will be insufficient in future
Basic business principles dictate that your organisation should never employ more staff than is required to keep operations running. Logically, your data centre is already operating with the least amount of technicians possible. Which mean that increasing the number of systems they oversee will leave you short-staffed.
The question then becomes, “have we factored human resourcing needs into our long term data strategy?”.
Meeting the challenge
Moving forwards, your business has two choices: employ the additional staff in-house, or investigate outsourcing options. In reality, the actual hardware purchase and deployment will have accounted for virtually all of the budget – so there’s nothing left for hiring new people.
Outsourcing low-level data centre technician roles provide a useful workaround. Yes, there is a cost involved, but typically much lower than hiring a full-time member of staff. Under the outsourced model, your data centre team can call upon additional resources as and when required, ensuring you’re never short-handed, and equipped to cope with problems as they occur.
Smart hands vendors specialise in providing these additional resources.
Alternatively, your business could choose to ignore the staffing issue, hoping that the improved storage management tools supplied by the OEM will simplify administration to the point that the existing team can cope. Such an approach is a gamble at best – crossing fingers and hoping for the best is not a sensible strategy however.
If the decision about staffing comes down to available cash and unproven business case, consider a short-term insourcing contract. Keeping the contract term short (~30 days) allows you to assess whether additional staff are required without committing too much money or resources up front.
Whether your business is in the middle of a capacity increase project, or simply at the planning stage, do not forget the ongoing staffing requirements once the new hardware is in place.
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