Making a concerted effort to stay up to date with new technologies or gaining new skills is often something that is easier said than done.
The first requirement is the motivation to raise your profile and work with new technlogies. To get started, the easiest step is to find out details of new projects, and make yourself aligned/involved in the project team. Show the motivation to help with any tasks needed, which is always welcomed. This also proves that you can time manage if you are on top of your daily tasks, and can take on more work.
In other situations, you might want to write your own business case for justifying the reason for moving with a particular strategy, outlining the business benefits and overall savings a company or department would make by your suggestion. For example include tape reduction with de-dupe, storage efficient volumes or consolidation initiatives. A good idea for this would be to identify an area which you feel could be invested in and that the return on such investment would be earned relatively quickly. Even if this your first business case is not successful, you should repeat the process as eventually you will uncover something that someone has missed, and it won’t be long before people starting asking for your advice.
In terms of preparation, a good idea would be to read as many storage news websites as possible, look at what the vendors are doing and more importantly what end user companies are adopting and why. Another good source of information is blogs of real life situaions. Vendors or partners will always try to make sure they guide you into a route which is suited for them and not for the end-user so beware when asking your current storage partner for advice.
Understanding the data storage principals is always key, however understanding how they integrate into operating systems and applications is critical to making you a true data storage specialist. Always make sureyou understand the full picture and shortfalls you may come across and reflect these in your business case.
These are some examples which would raise not only your profile, but increase your awareness of the storage strategy your company is taking up and areas they could streamline.
Something we as data storage specialists need to be mindful of is how technologies outside of storage work, and the interoperability between technologies. We have seen a big move towards virtualisation of products across all areas, and understanding the full scope of this is crucial.
As in other industries, we believe many specialists within the storage market allow themselves to get comfortable with the technologies that surround them and are caught off guard as the storage strategy shifts and the business model changes. Therefore make sure you keep up to date with the market and outside factors that may influence current business strategies.
So in summary take a step back and look around you. Look for areas where there can be improvements, keep updated with future strategies and technologies and look outside the storage market to see where the next shift will happen.
Next time we will go through the type of information out there about vendors and partners, and how to make the right choice.