ORLANDO, FLA. – Andrew Parham thinks that data center managers should be like lookouts on a ship, perched up in the crow's nest.
That said, Porter said he liked Parham's message, and acknowledged there are ways to get his message heard. He can present data center issues to his supervisor, and if his points are strong enough, that message can move up the line. In general, data center pros have to get better at talking about the value of their expertise to the business in general. Parham suggested that data center managers assemble a five- or six-slide presentation deck that clearly connects data center needs to business values. A data center manager can then show that to his supervisor. When the board meeting eventually convenes, the supervisors will want a data center manager there. The presentation should be framed in business objectives, not technical goals. Executives don't really care about data centers, servers, and storage area networks, he said, except in terms of how the impact the business. "They definitely don't buy power and cooling or space," he said. "They buy security, availability, control. They buy performance for their companies." Executives often read something about data centers in the Wall Street Journal or the Harvard Business Review. Then they go into the data center, but oftentimes they find staff that's being protective about the facilities and their IT assets, and speaking in terms that are too technological. "I don't see many data center directors that would truly be considered part of the executive decision-making group," he said. "I don't see a lot of dialogue between the CEO and the data center manager." Parham also pushed his vision of cloud computing, saying that the cloud will be "a storm, not a shower." For Porter and many other IT pros closer to the ground, however, there are no clouds in sight. "We're very conservative," he said. "We may do something eventually as an internal-only cloud, but at this point we're not willing to risk putting data into a colo facility." "That may change with time," he added.
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