A Successful Failure to Collaborate on Storage Technology Education

A Successful Failure to Collaborate on Storage Technology Education

J. McAvoy (University College Cork, Ireland), E. Van Sickle (EMC Corporation, USA) and B. Cameron (Pennsylvania State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/jicte.2009041006
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In industry, up to 40% of an IS budget can be spent on Storage technology, making it the fastest growing segment of IT/IS. While industry has recognised the need to diffuse this technology, academia has been slow to respond to this diffusion need. Universities are not teaching courses in this area and a variety of reasons are presented ranging from lack of skills to cost (the cost of installing a Storage system for use by students is a massive expenditure well beyond the budgets of most IS academic departments).This paper concentrates on the lack of skills (knowledge barriers in the parlance of diffusion of innovation theory) and examines ways to overcome this. The knowledge skills are present in industry, so collaboration between industry and academia is a suggested solution. Collaboration between industry and academia, though, is fraught with problems. The aim of this research therefore is to examine how this collaboration can be effective. Interestingly, the result of this research suggests true collaboration is not the solution, but a win-win situation is still possible for all stakeholders.
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Enterprise systems are focal points for business and information technology, and storage technologies are becoming a core element of these systems. To meet growing storage needs, industry has introduced a selection of storage solution alternatives, each addressing specific data storage and management needs (Duplessie, 2006). Direct attached storage (DAS) systems attach storage drives directly to servers, network attached storage (NAS) environments are made up of specialized servers dedicated to storage, storage area networks (SANs) are highly scalable and allow hosts to implement their own storage file systems, and content addressable storage (CAS) systems are a mechanism for storing and retrieving information based on content rather than location. Because the storage needs of all organizations are growing exponentially today, huge investments are made each year in storage-related hardware and software. Skilled employees are needed to design and navigate through these complex enterprise solutions.

Business’ information technology budgets are responding to storage demands, spending an estimated 40% on storage-related needs in large organizations (Hecker, 2004). IDC predicted that IT spending on storage and services will exceed $60 billion in 2007 (Gantz, 2007). Increased spending on storage makes it the fastest growing segment of IT. Despite these large investments in Storage by industry, Universities lag behind significantly with respect to curricula related to this expanding area.

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