Infinidat Blog

Strategies to Solve the IT Skills Gap in Enterprise Storage for Fortune 500 Companies

It’s well-documented that the global IT skills gap not only exists, but it is also widening at a pace that has many CIOs, CTOs, CISOs and other IT hiring managers falling regrettably into a “fret it and can’t forget it” mindset. With fewer and fewer qualified personnel, this gap is creating real challenges to manage the data infrastructure, encompassing all aspects of IT from cybersecurity, networks and servers to containerized applications and enterprise storage.

However, there are solid answers on the storage front to address the IT skills gap – things you won’t hear anywhere else. But first, it’s important to define and understand the underlying problems that are exacerbating this gap.

Look at the numbers: 75% of IT decision-makers have reported gaps in the skill sets of their IT staff – and this is a 145% increase over the past seven years, according to Skillsoft Research. According to the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA), six in 10 large enterprises reported a skills gap. Globally, at the end of 2023 the shortage of qualified IT professionals was estimated at 3.5 million people, as cited by AG5 software, a skills gap expertise organization. The cybersecurity skills gap is particularly concerning. CompTIA mentioned, eight in 10 IT and business executives are at least somewhat concerned with the IT skills gap at their companies. One-quarter (25%) are very concerned.

For those of you trapped in the “fret it and can’t forget it” approach to the IT skills gap, Infinidat and our world-class partners are coming to the rescue. We have a different approach, coupled with a set of strategies on how to bridge the gap. Our answers to the questions about professional IT skills involve a mix of system-level solutions, smart data center consolidation, a software play, and new training.

The Technology Bridge

One effective strategy is to deploy autonomous automation into your storage infrastructure, so it reduces the level of complexity, thereby decreasing the dependence on specialized IT skills that are becoming harder to find. With the power of autonomous automation, an admin can manage PBs and PBs of storage easily and cost effectively. For example, a global Fortune 500 customer in Europe went from 15 people managing >75PBs of storage to only four people managing with the switch to Infinidat. That capacity has actually grown to almost 100PB – still with only four storage administrators.

Infinidat has pioneered the industry’s leading autonomous automation solution, available on our InfiniBox® hybrid, InfiniBox™ SSA II and InfiniGuard® platforms. Our patented Neural Cache AI-based, deep learning automation continuously optimizes data placement and maximizes cache hits for the ultimate in self-managed solution performance.

We have several public references who say they haven’t touched their Infinidat storage system in three or four years. It automatically configures itself. It automatically adjusts to changes in performance and new apps. We automatically optimize performance and do it autonomously, so the admin doesn’t even click a button.

An enterprise customer, who is VP of Cloud Operations, told us, “Our InfiniBox systems are very reliable – no unplanned downtime ever. I don’t have to think about my InfiniBox systems. This is in contrast to my other storage solutions which take up significantly more administrative and management time.”

A complementary strategy is to automate the technical support process through Artificial Intelligence for IT Operations (AIOps). AIOps supports scalable, multi-petabyte storage-as-a-service (STaaS) solutions, enabling enterprises to simplify and centralize IT operations and improve cost management.

The flexibility of capacity and workloads are better managed, powering an increased pace of innovation and supporting digital transformation. AIOps is a dynamic way to simplify IT operations, reduce administrative overhead, and add a predictive layer onto the data infrastructure ‒ all without disruption or compromise.

Our InfiniOps™ solution is a collection of extensive software capabilities that exploit world-class AIOps functionality and expedite DevOps activities. By harnessing the unique operational awareness of our InfiniVerse®, IT teams have streamlined storage oversight and management to unprecedented levels of set-it-and-forget-it simplicity at their local site and across the globe. This simplicity reduces the heavy burden of IT recruitment and retention and helps close the gap.

Neural Cache is a great example of AIOps technology, which provides deep learning capabilities within InfiniBox and InfiniGuard. The longer the Neural Cache runs, the smarter it gets about its current and new workloads. It's as if Neural Cache can be your newest contributor to IT operations. It redefines and reshapes "IT skills."

“With the simplicity of Infinidat’s system operation, we have been able to deploy our resources to more productive IT activities,” said Mano Haran, Senior Director of IT at iBASIS.

A third strategy for shortening the gap is through storage consolidation. We have a -$20 billion enterprise customer that went from 27 storage arrays from three different vendors to only four arrays. A Fortune 100 customer also reduced their storage infrastructure from 450 floor tiles to only 50 floor tiles, running all the same applications and workloads. This consolidation had many benefits, but one of the key ones was reducing the need for IT manpower. You don’t need such high-level skills with years of experience when the need for IT resources has been streamlined.

Simultaneously, you reduce IT expenditures – both CAPEX and OPEX. This money can then be redirected to other things, such as AI development projects or training existing IT staff on new skills that will be in demand in the near-term and long-term future. In addition, having larger capacity in the same physical footprint of an enterprise storage system reduces the administrative burden. InfiniBox, InfiniBox SSA and InfiniGuard deliver this value. The implication is that you can do more with fewer IT professionals. Your ROI on the IT infrastructure will shoot up.

According to a study conducted by IDC and detailed in the white paper “The Business Value of Infinidat Storage,” the average productivity of storage infrastructure teams increased 48% by using InfiniBox. This quantification highlights a key aspect of InfiniBox’s value proposition − simplified management. Participants in the study reported that storage infrastructure teams were able to take advantage of streamlined and user-friendly storage management features to improve productivity. These improvements translated into an average annual salary savings of $255,100 for each organization.

The Human Factor

Infinidat’s channel partners are in an ideal position to help fill the gap for our enterprise customers. Our partners are among the best IT solution providers and integrators in the world. They have the high levels of IT skills that enterprise customers are seeking. Furthermore, our cloud service provider partners, managed service provider partners, and managed hosting provider partners have the skills that are packaged as easy-to-buy services. Enterprises should outsource certain functions and tasks to these external partners. All IT skills don’t have to be in-house anymore. You can harness the skills of local integrators, consultants, and technical experts.

On top of that, Infinidat provides Technical Advisors (TA) and Professional Services teams who are well-equipped to fill the enterprise storage skills gap. Our standard support provides a Technical Advisor as part of our white glove service at no extra charge; this is a major add-on expense from our competitors. Managing the lifecycle of storage is so much easier with Infinidat than with alternatives, and our Professional Services team come in and out across the entire lifecycle to add value when it means the most − yet doing it in the most efficient way possible.

Enterprises can tap into our Technical Advisors and Professional Services as a means to fill in aspects of the IT skills gap. You don’t have to worry that you may not have the high-experience, storage-centric gurus who were once required to run the storage infrastructure. Not only do modern storage technologies, such as our InfiniBox solutions, change the parameters for staffing the team, but access to Infinidat’s expertise enables our TAs and Professional Services teams to become an extension of our customers’ IT teams.

Last, but not least, Infinidat offers a training program for our partners. It’s particularly valuable for those who diligently work to fill the IT skills gap for enterprises. Our new training program, which was launched in early 2023 in the Americas and in EMEA and APJ in the second half of last year, is called Infuziast. It’s designed to keep the skills of IT professionals, ranging from sales consultants to technical personnel, up to date. These professionals can manage storage for enterprises as well as modernize storage for you.

All that has been outlined in this blog can help you optimize what you need to manage enterprise storage. We help you make the most of IT resources. It changes the equation for IT skills, going forward. Ultimately, in a reversal from the “fret it and can’t forget it” mindset, Infinidat triumphantly enables you to embrace a highly desirable “set it and forget it” approach. This alternative is Infinidat’s unique value proposition to you. It’s within your reach today.

If you have questions, contact us by clicking here.

About Eric Herzog

Eric Herzog is the Chief Marketing Officer at Infinidat. Prior to joining Infinidat, Herzog was CMO and VP of Global Storage Channels at IBM Storage Solutions. His executive leadership experience also includes: CMO and Senior VP of Alliances for all-flash storage provider Violin Memory, and Senior Vice President of Product Management and Product Marketing for EMC’s Enterprise & Mid-range Systems Division.