Storage Admin Persona

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Product/Service Considerations

Performance, cost, scalability, security, and simplicity appear to be the five factors that storage administrators in the United States find the most important when considering new products or services.


  • Enterprise Storage Forum's recent survey of IT professionals shows that when purchasing new storage technologies, these IT professionals seek the following qualities:
  • Given that the responsibilities of the storage administrator include helping his or her organization or information technology superiors "choose the right storage at the right time," it is likely that the factors the storage administrator takes into account when considering new products or services are the same as the factors mentioned above.
  • Choosing the correct storage, in most cases, may mean setting up a hybrid storage environment that utilize different types of storage, including traditional storage, hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI), and cloud-based storage.
  • The storage technologies that most companies seriously consider purchasing in the near future are cloud storage (around 50%), flash/solid-state drive or SSD (around 29%), disaster recovery (around 21%), software-defined storage (around 18%), storage area network or SAN (around 18%), hard disk drive or HDD (around 17%), and converged/hyper-converged infrastructure (around 14%).
  • In the 2019 Storage Brand Leader Report, information technology professionals, including storage administrators, were asked to identify the storage brand they think is the leader in each of the following aspects: market, price, performance, reliability, innovation, and service and support. These categories suggest that, apart from price and performance, reliability, innovation, and service and support are important considerations as well.


  • Storage administrators are used to maintaining a balance between performance and cost when exploring new storage technologies.
  • With the emergence of high-performing storage technologies such as flash and corresponding accelerating technologies (e.g., non-volatile memory express or NVMe), this balancing job has become even more important. The steep price that comes with high performance makes the preparation of detailed cost analyses imperative.
  • With the role of storage administrators changing in light of the rise of cloud-based storage, "storage admins need to manage costs as much as they need to manage their storage systems."


  • Storage administrators seek storage technologies with greater scalability because scalability helps address capacity and availability problems associated with conventional storage systems.
  • Storage technologies with improved scalability help maintain costs at the lowest levels possible.
  • Scalability is one of the most salient considerations in recent purchases of HCIs.


  • Companies are investing in new storage technologies but are not hiring more storage personnel. Despite this trend, data retention management and data protection remain the responsibility of storage administrators. This responsibility makes security an important purchase consideration.
  • Storage administrators have a myriad of responsibilities that relate to the compliance and security domains. These responsibilities include the protection of stored data against loss or theft on premise or in the cloud, the preparation of data recovery and data-related business continuity plans, the management of exposed or lost data, and the management of compliant data retirement and data retention schedules.
  • Storage administrators need to balance data availability with data confidentiality and data integrity. They are responsible for ensuring sensitive data do not fall into the wrong hands, data in the company's information systems remain reliable, and data is available to people authorized to access it.


  • Whether a storage product or service offers simplified management is a key consideration for storage administrators. The automation of routine activities allows storage administrators to focus on more important activities and improve service levels without increasing headcount.
  • Streamlining processes such as storage tiering and backup helps storage administrators manage primary system performance, backup, and compliant retention schedules better.
  • One of the things that drive purchases of HCIs is the ability of an HCI to simplify infrastructure.


We first checked if there are surveys of storage administrators, as there may be details in these polls that relate to product or service considerations. Unfortunately, the only relevant sources we were able to find with this strategy were the 2018 Networking & Storage Brand Leader Mini-Report and the 2019 Storage Brand Leader Report. The findings in these reports, which were based on surveys of information technology professionals, including storage administrators, server administrators, and network administrators, were mostly about preferred brands. The only helpful information we were able to gather from these reports was that price, performance, reliability, innovation, and service and support are likely important considerations for storage administrators who are looking at different storage brands.

To find additional information, we looked for (a) storage administrator job descriptions and (b) articles or reports covering the role and responsibilities of storage administrators. We hoped that by doing so, we would come across clues as to what storage administrators find important when considering new storage products or services. We came across several job descriptions, but none of these job descriptions offer any information about key purchase considerations. It appears researching or comparing new products or services is not among the key responsibilities of storage administrators. There were a few articles discussing the role of storage administrators, including those published by NetApp, TechTarget, and Enterprise Storage Forum, and from these articles, we were able to gather a few useful insights about what storage administrators find valuable.

Looking for storage technology purchase considerations, in general, was the strategy we found most helpful. This strategy led us to two articles by California-based Enterprise Storage Forum that cover (a) the slowdown in the recruitment of storage personnel and (b) the qualities that enterprises or information technology professionals seek when purchasing new storage technologies. Though the findings are not specific to storage administrators, we find it safe to assume that, within a company, storage technology purchase considerations do not vary from one employee to another. For example, the storage administrator and the head of the information technology department of a company likely have the same set of purchase considerations because they are working for the same company.
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Content Preferences

There is hardly any information on the content preferences of storage administrators in the United States in the public domain, but the content formats that can be seen on the website of the leading organization for storage professionals, Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA), suggest that storage administrators likely prefer content for learning and collecting new information to come in the form of videos, white papers, infographics, podcasts, and webcasts.


  • The content preferences of storage administrators in the United States are unfortunately not available in the public domain. However, the content formats on the website of SNIA suggest that the preferred formats are likely videos, white papers, infographics, podcasts, and webcasts.
  • The SNIA website has a Resources section, and it can be observed from this section that the resources offered by SNIA come in the form of videos, white papers, infographics, podcasts, and webcasts.
  • It can be safely assumed that SNIA knows the content preferences of storage professionals/administrators in the United States for the following reasons:
    • SNIA has been "the globally recognized and trusted authority for storage leadership, standards, and technology expertise" for over 20 years now.
    • SNIA has a substantial member base. Its members are composed of 185 industry-leading organizations, 2,000 active contributing members, and 50,000 information technology end-users and storage professionals.
    • Since SNIA is headquartered in the United States, a large portion of its member base is likely based in the United States as well.
    • Having been founded in 1997, SNIA has long been serving storage professionals, including storage administrators.
    • SNIA notes that it "has developed a wealth of vendor-neutral content on storage architectures, standards, and education."


  • SNIA has a SNIAVideo YouTube channel that members can subscribe to. Storage administrators hoping to learn more about the industry can choose from hundreds of videos touching on a variety of topics, including persistent memory, cloud, data management, and power efficiency.
  • The channel, which has 2,163 subscribers and 153,509 views so far, has videos featuring conferences, summits, field days, interviews, and ridecasts.
  • Most videos in the channel are at least 30 minutes in length. Some exceed an hour in length.
  • The channel's Persistent Memory Summit videos appear to have far more views than the other videos.


  • SNIA has numerous free white papers that are available for download. These white papers have been written by SNIA's Technical Work Groups and Technology Communities.
  • White papers that SNIA recently published touched on persistent memory, spare capacity, and data protection.
  • The white papers are categorized into the following technology categories: cloud storage, cloud data management interface (CDMI), data integrity, data protection, networked storage, green storage, hyperscaler storage, hypervisor storage interfaces, linear tape file system papers, long term retention papers, persistent memory, software defined storage, solid state storage, and storage security.



  • SNIA has its Storage Developer Conference (SDC) Podcast Series, which presents one podcast per week. The podcast series covers technical topics that are important to the storage developer community.
  • The podcast series has so far released 106 episodes, the latest of which touched on topics such as container attached storage, dual-mode solid-state drive (SSD) architecture, and open-channel SSDs.
  • Each episode, which is around 40 minutes in length, has links to the MP3 file, the video, and the presentation slides.



In determining the content preferences of storage administrators in the United States, we employed a number of strategies. First, we checked if there are surveys, interviews, articles, or reports that readily list these content preferences. We quickly found, however, that there is hardly any information in the public domain about the content preferences of storage administrators. The fact that storage administrators are a niche group may be the reason behind this lack of information. Storage administrators are just a small subset of the much broader group of information technology professionals. The closest information we were able to find with this strategy was the content preferences of B2B buyers. According to a report published by Demand Gen, the influencer content formats that B2B buyers find most valuable are case studies, webinars, third-party or analyst reports, user reviews, video content, white papers, blog posts, and infographics. We came across an article touching on storage administrator skills, but it only mentioned in passing that storage administrators hoping to learn automation and scripting can refer to tutorials and other online resources.

Second, we researched how marketers reach storage, network, or system administrators. We figured that doing so may lead us to clues as to the preferred content formats. Sources covering marketing best practices sometimes identify the recommended content formats. Unfortunately, this strategy proved ineffective. We were unable to find any article or report that discusses how marketers reach storage administrators. The closest information available is information on "how to reach technology decision makers." According to an article published by, technology decision makers prefer short articles over long articles.

Since B2B buyers and technology decision-makers are very broad groups, we decided to look for organizations or associations of storage administrators, with the objective of checking the content formats that these organizations use. This third strategy led us to just one association, the SNIA, but thankfully, SNIA is big and established enough for us to use as reference. Through this strategy, we were able to determine the content formats that storage professionals, including storage administrators, likely prefer. We assume that SNIA knows the content preferences of storage professionals because SNIA has been serving storage professionals for over 20 years now.
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Four ways a storage administrator prefers to interact with selling organizations and influencers include professional gatherings & sessions, sponsored networking events/conferences, social media groups, and on-site training sessions by selling organizations.



  • For over 20 years, the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) has been a globally recognized and trusted association, based in the US that is solely meant for storage professionals, including storage administrators.
  • The organization has over 2,000 active contributing members from 185 industry-leading organizations along with a broad base of 50,000 information technology end-users and storage professionals who are a part of an organization.
  • Through this forum, the members engage with the vendors/seller organizations and also interact with peer members and leaders and experts of the industry through various multi-vendor interoperability events, and collaborative sessions and exhibits organized through the organization.
  • The other avenues for engagement that are available through the organization for members to interact with selling organizations/vendors and influencers/speakers include attending expert-level special training programs driven by various high-level selling organizations for product specializations and interacting with the industry leaders for product certifications and demos.


  • The best cloud and IT ops conferences attended by storage managers, system administrators, architects and other related professions in the US, which also allows them to interact with vendors and speakers/influencers include DataWorks Summit, Oracle OpenWorld, Data Center World, Gartner Infrastructure & Operations Management Conference.
  • Gartner's IT Infrastructure & Operations conference, which is attended by 3,500 peers, is used as an opportunity by the attendees to interact, network, and learn from around 70+ Gartner experts and commence vendor selection.
  • Oracle OpenWorld is an overwhelming opportunity for IT and infrastructure professionals including storage administrators and other Oracle customers, partners, developers, and IT ops pros to interact with 250 exhibitors/selling organizations such as Accenture, ADP, Birlasoft, Capgemini and others along with speakers/influencers from 90 countries with 2,000 sessions on various agendas/topics and industry developments.


  • Through the Storage Administrator group on LinkedIn, more than 600 professionals are leveraging the platform to interact, network and have a conversation with selling organizations such as Cisco/McData/Brocade SAN switches, and sharing conversations with influencers and industry experts on HDS USPV/AMS and HP storage technologies.
  • The LinkedIn Sys Admin group, which has more than 300+ professionals, is dedicated to storage/system administrators who utilize the group to interact with peers and influencers/experts to learn from their experiences by sharing conversations, comments, and questions.
  • SNIA also has a LinkedIn group meant for storage administrators with more than 20,000+ professionals who share conversations with vendors and industry experts and leaders.


  • Various selling organizations in storage and cloud infrastructure such as Cisco and Dell EMC conduct on-site training and certification sessions for system/storage administrators, which allows them to interact with the selling organizations' personnel along with learning from their experts/influencers.
  • Dell EMC organizes various learning path sessions for the storage category dedicated to this field professionals to learn more about the products and solutions and learn from experts.
  • Cisco has private group training organized for network administrators related to various products and components such as Cisco Digital Network Architecture Implementation Essentials (DNAIE), Cisco Cloud Object Storage and others arranged for professionals in the field to learn more about the product, its functions, features, and solutions.


To gather information and details on the prominent ways that a storage/system administrator prefers to interact with selling organizations/vendors and influencers/speakers/experts in the US, we began by checking for precompiled information through credible sources, including surveys reports, interviews, news articles, industry leaders' blogs, or publications such as Indeed, DemandGen, ManageEngine, Cisco, HBR, Forbes, and Medium.
Most of the information available through this approach was related to the overall IT ops or backend roles along with insights on the pain points of system administrators with vendors in terms of product quality and others but was not specific to ways of interaction.

Hence, we opted to triangulate a response by researching through the leading online and offline channels that are dedicated to storage administrators or are more likely consumed by them such as large professional associations, conferences and networking events, social media groups, and preferred LinkedIn channels. This search provided large platforms such as SNIA (50,000 system administration and IT professionals), Gartner conferences (around 3,500 IT professionals including storage professionals), a LinkedIn group for system administration (more than 300+ professionals) and others that are consumed mainly by this persona. We then further provided an analysis on ways by which these forums are being leveraged to conduct networking with vendors, have product discussions, and collaboratively interact with industry experts and technical leaders/influencers through training sessions.
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The Storage Administrators engage and network with peers through various prominent online and offline forums such as Professional associations like SNIA, Networking conferences, twitter groups, podcast channels through which people interact with peers, network with fellow members and learn through educational resources, training and conferences.


For over 20 years, SNIA is a globally recognized and trusted association, based in US meant for storage leadership, technical expertise, and standards.
  • The organization has over 2,000 active contributing members from 185 industry leading organizations along with a large based network of 50,000 information technology end-users and storage professionals who are a part of organization.
  • Through this platform, the members engage with the peers and network with members in the group along with sharing education and resources through, participating in various multi-vendor inter operation events, forming strategic alliance partnerships and collaborating through various committees.
  • The other forums of engagement available through the organization exclusively for members to leverage include :training sessions, exhibitions/sponsorship events and Storage developer special events.
  • The best cloud and IT Ops conferences being attended by storage managers, system administrators, architects and other related professions in US include:Dataworks Summit, Interop ITX, CloudEXPO, Gartner Data Center, Infrastructure & Operations Management Conference and others.
  • Through the Gartner conferences Infrastructure & Operations Management Conference, the attendees leverage the opportunity to interact, network and learn from more than 3,500 peers and engage with around 70+Gartner experts and share more than 150+ researched papers and attend multiple sessions dedicated on sub subjects such as cloud Infrastructures, Cloud and Infrastructure and others.


  • As an active organization meant for storage professionals, including storage administrators in US,SNIA also delivers regular podcasts series every week for members to share important technical topics to the Storage Developer community.
  • Additionally, another online forum of engagement leveraged by the members through SNIA include SNIA Blogs where members are active contributing and interacting online with the peers by asking industry specific queries and sharing answers along with joining SNIA CSTI webcast, (Kubernetes) and sharing there comments and suggestions.
  • A YouTube channel driven by SNIA is subscribed by more than 2000+ professionals who consume information from the various information videos posted on the channel where there are around 153,621 views and more than 100 videos related to storage management, Networked storage, cloud storage technologies and others on which they have shared their views, comments and opinions.
  • The dedicated Twitter group -Enterprise Storage which shares,"data storage product reviews and technology trends for Enterprise storage professionals" is followed by more than 5000+ professionals who are assumed to be largely storage administrators and related professionals who engage by tweeting, posting comments and opinions on the forum.
  • The Linked professional group followed by most of the storage administrators in US for the purpose of networking and engagement include-Cloud Computing & Virtualization professionals,Linux Expert and others.
  • The Cloud Computing & Virtualization group has around 470,828 professionals who utilize the platform to expand their network of contacts, share idea’s and engage in discussions through comments, posts and articles on industry related topics such VMware, SaaS, PaaS, Cloud Security, Cloud Computing & Server Virtualization technologies, storage architectures, and others.(Source 11)
  • The Linux expert has around 89,492 professionals in this group who join conversations related Linux, Unix, Android and about the world that revolves around these operating systems along with networking through sharing connection invitations to peer members.(Source 12)
  • TechSnap is a prominent podcast channels being followed by around 504 System /Storage administrators to listen to industry experts from the field of Systems, Network, and Administration and gather tech news along with interact with these peer speakers by asking questions, sharing problems and discussing best practices.



  • No particular evidence of difference is identified between the prominent modes (offline and online) of engagement / networking opted and being utilized by Storage administrations.
  • Although it is assumed that through offline engagement/networking events which are dedicated for Storage administrators filed professionals (SNIA, Gartner conference networking event) are expected to be more focused on these target groups and can have better interactions as they are membership based and have serious involvement by participants.rather than open forum social groups and podcast(linkedin, Twitter, YouTube videos Tecnap) who can be followed by anyone interested in the topic and have less engagement/interaction opportunities through podcast, YouTube videos and so.

Research Strategy:

  • In order to identify the insights and information related to how a Storage/System Administrator engages or networks with peers both online and offline in US, I checked through recompiled information from credible sources including surveys reports, interviews, news articles, industry leaders blogs, or publications relating to sharing the relevant information -Indeed survey, Demand Gen, manage engine, Cisco, HBR, Forbes, Medium and others.
  • Through the search it was found that most of the information was related to the overall IT ops or back end roles rather than insights specific to storage /system administrators.
  • Hence, to further gather the information directly relevant to Storage/System Administrator in US, I triangulated my response by researching through the prominent online and offline channels which are dedicated for Storage administrators or are more likely consumed by them which included large professional associations, conferences and networking events, social media groups, preferred linkedin or podcast channels and so on.
  • This search provided the larger platforms such as SNIA(50,000 system administrations and it professionals), Gartner conferences(around 3200 IT professionals including Storage professionals), Twitter group Enterprise Storage(around 5000+ followers). Tech Snap(500+ Storage/Network administrators) and others which are largely consumed by this persona and further provided the analysis on how, why and the ways in which these forums are being leverage such as motives which highlighted the insights on using these platforms to share education on groups, learn and network with peers, posting queries and answers related to industry and technical information(Cloud infrastructure, network and others).listening to industry leaders, posting comments and conversations and so on.
    • Additionally, based on the above findings and considering the high preferences and engagement of the Storage/System administrators through forums such as SNIA organization, networking conferences, professional groups and social media platforms it is assumed that the most common form of content outlets preferred by storage administrators are likely in the form of :-Videos -SNIA educational videos, YouTube videos, White papers-SNIA White papers and educations resources, Podcasts-SNIA podcasts, Technap podcast and Webcasts-SNAI Webcasts and conference webcasts.
  • Also, the above findings did not highlight any particular evidence of difference is identified between the prominent modes (offline and online) of engagement / networking opted and being utilized by Storage administrations but based on the seriousness and opportunity of interaction available offline modes are assumed to be more engaging as compared to online such as YouTube videos, podcasts and others.
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As part of their priority tasks and functions, storage administrators manage and maintain all centralized storage technologies and infrastructure while providing day to day data management operational support for distributed data systems for all aspects of the data life-cycle. They face challenges related to security and compliance, the burden of reporting, and the threat of automation among others. The following section provides some functions of storage administrators, additional challenges they face as well as phrases that resonate with them.


Priority Tasks and Functions

  • According to Steve McDowell, a senior analyst on storage technologies at Moor Insights and Strategy, an administrator’s role is primarily about enabling a storage architecture that serves the needs of the enterprise.
  • According to IBM, the primary responsibilities of storage administrators include installing, troubleshooting, operating, testing, planning, and configuring relevant storage technologies.
  • Storage Administrators are charged with the responsibility of providing day to day data management operational support for distributed data systems, including aspects of the data life-cycle such as solution testing, device and component preparation, data placement, recall, recovery, backup retention, and deletion of some data.
  • Storage administrators also manage and maintain all centralized storage technologies and infrastructure. Examples of such technology include the various storage networks, NAS environments, DAS environments among other technologies classified as a storage technology.

Other Functions/Tasks

  • Storage level problem determination and resolution is also a crucial part of storage administrators’ functions. As determined, storage administrators may manipulate software and tools to address detected problems.
  • Storage administrators assist in the development and product engineering as it relates to storage technologies in line with an enterprise’s objectives and goals.
  • For enterprises that utilize cloud storage as their primary storage, the Storage Administrators’ tasks include contract management with various cloud vendors, keeping track of billing, capacity planning, optimizing storage usage, and ensuring compliance with the necessary security precautions.


Burden of Reporting

  • Storage administrators face the challenges of reporting weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annual reports as a requirement. When combined with other tasks such as watching storage, throughput, growth, seeing tendencies of IO and preparing for peaks, reporting becomes an additional workload for storage administrators.

Security and Compliance

  • As part of IT governance, security and compliance requirements can sometimes drag down the individuals in charge of storage infrastructure. Today, storage infrastructure has to comply with specific regulatory requirements and adhere to security requirements. The process is not only time-consuming but also involves additional costs and may slow down the process of acquiring needed infrastructure.

Threat of Automation

  • Today, storage administrators and other IT professionals are under threat by the prevailing trends in automation. They face the challenge of keeping up with the pace in the rapidly changing IT environment.

Aging Storage Gear

  • Sometimes storage administrators work with storage equipment that have reached arbitrary vendor end-of-life (EOL) stage, which are prone to outages, data loss and generally slow down the life cycle of data storage and usage.


  • Generally, storage administrators resonate with words and phrases that demonstrate success, sense of achievement, motivation, and efficiency in the workplace. Some phrases are as follows.

Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert

  • CCIE above is a storage-related Cisco certification that is a highly recognized credential necessary for storage administrators and it comes with a terrific payoff for its holders.

Short Stroking

  • Storage administrators resonate with short stroking because it helps make their work easier. Through short stroking, a drive can be made to perform better than in a typical configuration.

Bonuses and Rewards

  • Given the nature of their work being task-oriented, storage administrators resonate with bonuses and rewards which recognize their milestones and achievements in their field of expertise.


  • As professionals, storage administrators associate much with the word training. They believe in achieving both professional and personal development through the training that they are exposed to.


Direct-Attached Storage (DAS)

  • Direct-attached storage (DAS) is a computer storage system that is connected to one computer and cannot be accessed by other computers. Storage administrators interact with such systems on a daily business while performing their functions.

Network-Attached Storage (NAS)

A Virtual Tape System (VTS)

  • A virtual tape system (VTS) “is a cloud or virtual data storage and backup system that uses magnetic-tape-based consolidated storage infrastructure to store and retrieve data.”

Local Area Network (LAN)

  • LAN is a group of computers and peripheral devices connected to a common server through a wireless link or communication line within a specific geographic area. Storage Administrators manage storage systems that are associated with the activities in a LAN environment.

Storage Area Network (SAN)

  • “A storage area network (SAN) is a dedicated high-speed network or sub-network that interconnects and presents shared pools of storage devices to multiple servers.”


To determine the priority tasks or functions of a Storage Administrator, challenges they face, as well as phrases they resonate with, we leveraged expert blogs such as IT Business Edge and credible media outlets such as Forbes. We also utilized job descriptions by top tech companies such as IBM as posted on websites such as Glassdoor and Indeed. We picked on those roles that were common across the websites and expert blogs. Additionally, to ensure that we were consistent with the 'priority' criteria, we included tasks and functions fronted by experts in the field such as Steve McDowell, a senior analyst on storage technologies at Moor Insights and Strategy.

We have provided a list of phrases that the storage administrators resonate with. However, we could not ascertain if these are the most prominent ones and we were not able to back it up with stats or hard data due to lack of publicly available information from industry publications, expert blogs, and media outlets among other resources that we extensively reviewed.

From Part 05