Sunday, December 23, 2007

Are We Educating Future Storage Professionals?

Happy Holidays to all readers.

During my visit to India over the Thanksgiving, I met some friends and family members whom I haven’t seen for a long time. They inquired what I do and when I responded that I work in data storage, the invariable follow up was “What kind of database?” ;-)

I am always interested in learning more about various storage technologies irrespective of their relevancy to my job at that time. So, when I moved to Seattle, I decided to check out the course offerings in storage by local universities and colleges. To my surprise, there was not even a single class offered on data storage at any of the local educational institutions including University of Washington.

What the above two examples have in common is the lack of awareness in data storage. Despite the criticality of IT infrastructure and data storage to corporations, there is lack of knowledge and focus on these topics by most IT professionals, whether experienced or recent graduates. Most of the storage knowledge seems be gained through on the job or vendor training that typically focuses on only working with specific products. Educational institutions also seem to be oblivious to the need of educating storage technologies to their CS/IT students.

Most storage vendors offer training on their own product portfolio with little or no focus on underlying storage technologies that make up their products. SNIA has tried to bridge the gap through their education tutorials at SNW and vendor-neutral storage certifications. If my experiences at spring SNW is any indication, most attendees to these tutorials are storage professionals themselves. The certifications are also targeted at validating the skills of IT professionals already working in storage rather than attracting experienced IT professionals from non-storage domains.

Is this apathy by storage community toward storage education resulting in storage skills gap? Is storage community doing anything to bridge the skills gap in storage knowledge of experienced IT professionals as well as recent CS/IT graduates?

In my follow-up post, I will discuss an interesting initiative taking place to address the gap in storage education at academic institutions.


  1. EMC has an Academy program that was created specifically to address this problem. We have provided a Storage Technology Foundations program to Universities worldwide. The curriculum covers storage technologies, not products. The universities offer the courses alongside traditional their IT classes.

    The details are here:

  2. G,

    Thanks for the info. Actually, second part of my post (just posted) is focused on highlighting the EMC Academic Alliance. Hopefully, others in storage industry will also initiate/participate in such programs. What are your thoughts on such programs?


  3. Hi Anil,

    I came across your blog while doing googling for some hot storage certifications. Although your blog is awesome on Storage, but what I feel it's lacking on study path.

    Because I am also looking to get certified and study further on Storage Technology, but sad no where I find study path. Somehow I joined storage bandwagon with my limited set of knowledge (only what I could learn about storage in my last 7 yrs working as Windows Admin).

    I don't find answer to some questions viz.
    which certification is most demamded in storage industry for administration?
    Should I go with vendor certification or vendor neutral certification?

    hope you can address my question.


  4. Hi Anil

    You are right, very few know about EMC Academic Alliance Program (EAA).

    I would seek your help in spreading the knowledge on the program.

    Rajesh Nambiar

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