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Users Share SAN Staffing Struggles

A panel of four IT managers closed the Storage World Conference/ASNP Annual Summit in Long Beach, Calif., last week with a lively discussion of storage staffing, in which the importance of planning and communication were cited as key to success -- especially as some end users still mistrust SAN technology.

"For the first year, it was a fight every time we wanted to move a direct-attached server to the SAN," said Gail Commer, IT manager of enterprise storage for Atlanta-based Southern Co. "Finally, [in-house users] are buying into it, now that they see the benefits... You just cannot communicate enough with other people in your organization."

Commer isn't alone. The panelists hail from diverse environments, including banking, healthcare, and energy. But all had to break new ground in their organizations to get a SAN team going.

For two of the panelists, the need for a SAN team rose only after the SAN was in place, and it became apparent it couldn't be managed in the "separate silo" fashion previously used for mainframes, Unix/Linux, and Windows applications. Putting reps from each group into single unit let them save money and improve efficiency while making their needs better understood.

A third panelist, representing a large bank, says her group made the SAN team part of the overall requisition for a new virtual SAN project replacing the original SAN. That eliminated the chance for problems to erupt.

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