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Strategies to Solve IT Skills Gap

In enterprise storage for Fortune 500 companies

Strategies To Solve It Skills Gap By Eric Herzog, Cmo At InfinidatBy Eric Herzog, CMO, Infinidat Ltd.



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 7 years, reported Skillsoft. Six in 10 large enterprises reported a skills gap, according to the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA, Inc.)

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 that 8 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, the 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.

Technology Bridge
One strategy is to deploy autonomous automation into your enterprise 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 petabytes of storage.

For example, a global Fortune 500 customer in Europe went from 15 people managing >75PB of storage to only 4 people managing with the switch to Infinidat. That capacity has actually grown to almost 100PB – still with only 4 storage administrators.

A complementary strategy is to automate the technical support process through AI for IT Operations (AIOps) supporting scalable, multi-petabyte 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.

A 3rd strategy for shortening the gap is through storage consolidation. We have a $20 billion enterprise customer that went from 27 storage arrays from 3 different vendors to only 4 arrays. A Fortune 100 customer reduced their storage infrastructure, going 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 and drove an 11-month payback. 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.

Human Factor
IT solution providers, who sell enterprise storage solutions as part of broader data center solutions, are in a good position to help fill the gap for our enterprise customers. They have the high levels of IT skills that enterprise customers are seeking. Furthermore, cloud service providers, MSPs, and managed hosting providers 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. Its standard support provides a TA as part of our white glove service at no extra charge.

Enterprises can tap into TAs 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. Access to this expertise enables TAs and professional services teams to become an extension of your IT team.

A training program for partners is also important. It’s particularly valuable for those who diligently work to fill the IT skills gap for enterprises. Infinidat’s newest 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.

All of these strategies are viable to address the IT skills gap. Ultimately, in a reversal from the “fret it and can’t forget it” mindset, Infinidat enables you to embrace a highly desirable “set it and forget it” approach.

How It’s Done with AI-based Automation
It has pioneered the industry’s autonomous automation solution, available on InfiniBox hybrid, InfiniBox SSA II and InfiniGuard platforms. The company’s patented Neural Cache AI-based, deep learning automation continuously optimizes data placement and maximizes cache hits for the ultimate in self-managed solution performance.

Neural Cache 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.

The company has several public references who say they haven’t touched their firm’s storage system in 3 or 4 years. It automatically configures itself. It automatically adjusts to changes in performance and new apps. The system automatically optimizes performance and does it autonomously, so the admin doesn’t even click a button.

One of vendor’s enterprise customers, who is VP of cloud operations, said: “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.

For AIOps, vendor’s InfiniOps solution is a collection of extensive software capabilities that exploit world-class AIOps functionality and expedite DevOps activities. By harnessing the operational awareness of firm’s 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.

Mano Haran, senior director of IT, iBASIS, Inc., said: “With the simplicity of Infinidat’s system operation, we have been able to deploy our resources to more productive IT activities.