IT Infrastructure Insights

IT’s “Great Resignation” Signals Need for Infrastructure Automation

Mar 31, 2022

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The “Great Resignation” is causing major problems for IT and infrastructure staff at companies all across America. For executives, that means it’s time to get creative about more than just hiring practices.

By incorporating actionable automation in storage and compute management, enterprise IT teams can mitigate the consequences of employee resignations and ensure that they spend their time on the projects that matter most.

IT Industry is Most Affected by the Great Resignation

In January of 2022, 4.3 million people quit their jobs, adding to a total of 11.3 million job openings. Many remained in their current roles but were considering a job change.

For example, in just the IT industry, 31% of employees searched for new jobs last summer (more than in any other industry according to Gartner). Looking ahead, another 72% of US IT employees are reportedly considering quitting before the end of 2022.

If even a fraction of them end up submitting resignations, it will be bad news for IT departments nationwide.

These resignations will leave gaping holes for employers. Their absence might even be felt in stronger-than-usual ways. That’s because mid-career employees seem to be quitting at the highest rates – not 20-somethings or early retirees.

Mid-level workers between the ages of 30-45 tend to be the ones doing the most technical and operational work – the kind not easily replaced or replicated without strong organizational training and knowledge retention.

It all adds up to a big headache across the IT industry for the foreseeable future.

Impact of the Great Resignation in IT Infrastructure Management

It makes sense, then, that 76% of global IT leaders face critical skills gaps on their teams.

This kind of “brain drain” creates significant consequences for storage and compute teams. Often, there is at least one employee who focuses on infrastructure data reporting – either by learning and reconciling multiple SRM tools or by building and maintaining multiple spreadsheets. Sometimes, this is the only employee who knows how to use these tools and spreadsheets.

If that employee were gone, data reporting would stop until someone else could learn these complex systems (or worse yet, rebuild them from scratch). If the employee is a new hire, it will probably take time for him or her to become proficient. If the responsibility is re-assigned within the department, there will be even less time than before dedicated to this vital role.

The result is little-to-no visibility into the systems that contain all of the organization’s data.

But what are the consequences of limited infrastructure data reporting and analysis?

In short, spending, outages, and challenges increase. With no ability to proactively identify risks and opportunities for improvement, IT teams spend more time reacting to more urgencies (such as unforeseen capacity limits and preventable health alerts).

When teams cannot consistently view details about their storage, compute, and cloud environments, they risk:

  • Unplanned last-minute purchases when storage runs out of space unexpectedly
  • Outages or device failures due to a lack of sufficient health monitoring
  • Operating inefficiently, with little awareness of how much storage space is still usable or can be re-purposed through re-allocations

Actionable Automation Supports & Boosts Your Entire Team

What if you could access any report or data you need about your infrastructure automatically? Without the obstacles of training, waiting periods, and added staff responsibilities, you and your team could spend more time on revenue-generating activities.

Instead of reacting to urgent needs, you could be proactive about improving operations and staying on budget.

This isn’t wishful thinking. Many tools and services now exist to automate these kinds of manual efforts and free up time for infrastructure teams do work on what really matters to them. And while many of these tools and services are narrow in scope, some – like Visual One Intelligence – unify them into one service.

That’s one pane of glass for every report at any time.

Here are four specific ways that modern automation can boost IT storage and infrastructure teams during the Great Resignation (and beyond):

1. Breaking down silos so all team members are equipped for success.

Enterprise storage infrastructures tend to have lots of moving pieces. There is rarely just one vendor supplying all of the storage. Most of Visual One Intelligence’s clients, for example, use platforms from three or more separate vendors. And many of them are hybrid environments, with some storage on-prem and some virtual or in the cloud.

With this many moving pieces, information exists in separate pockets. You might have one employee using Dell EMC’s SRM to collect data about your Dell EMC arrays and NetApp’s SRM to collect data about your NetApp arrays. Meanwhile, another employee tracks VMware or cloud data. Then, if there’s time, someone needs to build a spreadsheet to try comparing the data from all three siloes.

Enterprise IT shops don’t have time to constantly perform these tasks. As a result, a lot of the data stays siloed. That’s bad news when there is employee turnover and someone needs that data.

Automation that collects data across your entire infrastructure on a single pane of glass avoids all those problems. For example, teams that use Visual One Intelligence can allow any employee – at any time – to easily see how much storage is allocated, usable, unusable, orphaned, and more.

Even better, they can see these details for the entire enterprise, or by array (or pool, or cluster…good automation will let you drill down deep).

2. Projecting future capacity so emergency spending is minimized.

Is someone on your team responsible for capacity planning, or is that responsibility just one bullet on someone’s job description?

Capacity planning can be complex. Without constantly adjusting models based on past (or future) changes in usage, teams risk unwelcome surprises.

Automated capacity planning can continuously adjust and report modeling for your entire environment based on recent usage (as well as any anticipated future changes). Visual One Intelligence, for example, offers three different modeling styles plus the ability to simulate the impact of hypothetical changes in usage.

When these adjustments happen automatically, your staff can spend time on other parts of their ever-expanding job descriptions. Chances are, they don’t have enough time for capacity planning as it is!

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3. Fixing problems – before they become problems.

Every IT department knows the frustration of constant interruptions. Unfortunately, urgent problems are par for the course in IT.

Because of this reality, many infrastructure teams adopt a real-time monitoring approach. In theory, this approach notifies staff of problems in real-time as the problems occur.

In practice, however, this proves extremely disruptive. Because the problems are identified in real-time, teams have to move swiftly to address them. For example, if an array is about to reach capacity, remediation needs to occur quickly to avoid an outage.

A better method might automate these kinds of alerts to occur in advance. For example, Visual One Intelligence’s “consolidated alerting” approach alerts teams anytime an array reaches 80% capacity. (The limit is customizable.)

At Visual One Intelligence, we call this “actionable automation.” In other words, by consolidating automated alerts into single reports, teams can easily take action to prevent future problems.

For example, one of our clients transitioned to consolidated alerting after growing tired of the constant interruptions from real-time monitoring. The results were stunning. Previously, the client had at least 15,000 new tickets opened each year to request storage space. But by using consolidated alerting to identify and remediate these kinds of issues in advance, they reduced it to only 52 tickets.

That’s a 99.65% decrease in time-consuming tickets for your staff.

This kind of actionable automation is less disruptive to IT departments, and it is also easier to prevent an infrastructure problem than to fix one that already occurred.

(It’s certainly much cheaper. As of 2021, 91% of organizations said a one-hour outage averages over $300,000. And 44% said the costs are closer to $1 million or more. Using consolidated alerting, Visual One Intelligence clients have seen an average of two fewer outages each year.)

4. Improving storage allocations and costs.

For every activity that gets paused when there is a staff vacancy, there are plenty that never happen – even when teams are fully staffed.

Some tasks are simply too complicated or time-consuming to do manually.

For example, file analysis would benefit most large organizations. With enterprise data growing as much as 63% per month, storage teams could make their lives easier by identifying unstructured data ready to be archived or re-tiered.

Unfortunately, doing this would take far more time than it is worth – and would likely require end user involvement to determine which files must stay put.

With automation, however, months of work can be done in a day. For example, Visual One Intelligence’s file analysis can process up to one billion records per hour. With that kind of data available, IT departments can re-tier or archive more records – clearing valuable space on expensive first-tier storage.

Seeing is Believing

See Visual One Intelligence in Action

The Great Resignation Can Also be a Great Opportunity

If staffing shortages are squeezing your team, use it as an opportunity. Besides fixing some of the short-term challenges that staffing shortages pose, investment in complementary automation solves the long-term problem of “too many responsibilities and not enough time.”

When you’re back to having a full and growing staff, your team will need to focus their time where it matters most. Infrastructure automation like Visual One Intelligence supports your team so they can spend less time on routine tasks and more time building value for your organization.

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