Data centers

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Are You More Than Just a Cost Center?

Storage managers need to convince senior-level management that they're adding value to the enterprise

Storage administrators face a big challenge as the explosion of data being generated and stored within enterprises shows no sign of slowing. You have to keep asking for more money to buy more storage capacity and more software to manage it all, and you must keep adding new tools to virtualize and de-dupe and do all sorts of other innovative and useful things to the data.

It is beginning to look as if storage is the IT beast that's always hungry for more.

That's not a good position to be in during an economic downturn, when budgets are tight and getting tighter, and when upper management is looking for ways to cut costs and headcount. Yes, I know that a firehose of data keeps flooding your systems and it has to be stored somewhere. And it has to be accessible. And it has to be backed up. And it has to be kept secure. And much, much more.

But just asking for more may not be a career-enhancing move. So how do you convince your bosses and their bosses that what you do does in fact add value to the enterprise?

Many of your counterparts in the IT department have found ways to do that, or have at least convinced those that matter that they're cutting costs at every opportunity. The Web developers talk about the branding and marketing aspects of the company's Website, and in some cases can point to revenue generated by sales on the site. The code jockeys can talk about more efficient business processes that speed decision making, do a better job of tracking materials in the supply chain, or more effectively manage the customer relationship to sell more products and services. And some of the applications they've developed do provide a competitive advantage, and a few are even being sold for real money.

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