Identifying who the “best” individual is to handle backup and recovery within an organization has always been at best a crapshoot. The choice usually came down to some arbitrary evaluation of a person’s education, experience, knowledge, skills and their willingness to perform the task which had mixed results. The customer education services, certification program and online learning portal now available from CommVault trains and equips individuals to perform backup and recovery so this task of identifying the “right” person to do the job is a far more quantifiable and defensible process than ever before.
A recurring theme that I hear more frequently than ever is how poorly trained and equipped IT staff are to leverage the features on technology that they have readily available to them. Take backup software for instance. It used to be that in order to use features such as deduplication, array-based snapshots, mailbox-level restores n Exchange or even backup to disk organizations had to procure additional licenses to use them.
No more. In the last few years, capacity-based licensing has revolutionized how backup software is delivered. Solutions such as CommVault® Simpana® includes all of these features and more as part of its software so that if a specific feature is needed to protect an application can be deployed without having to go back to the proverbial well to ask for additional monies to pay for it.
But in the process of making all of these backup software features easily accessible and available for organizations to use, another equally problematic issue has emerged: actually getting IT staff to use them.
Consider this situation. CommVault Simpana natively offers management of array-based snapshots as part of its software so theoretically all that an IT staff member has to do is turn this feature on and start managing snapshots on almost any array from any storage vendor (Dell, EMC, HP, IBM, NetApp, etc.) The problem is that before anyone wants to turn this feature on, they want to know:
- How to configure it
- How it works in their environment
- What the impact might be
- How to turn it off if needed
- How to test it
Obtaining that knowledge and then getting the necessary training and experience with the feature so that one may confidently perform that task is another story. No knowledgeable IT staff member really wants to try out a really “cool” feature such as managing array-based snapshots on a production array and then have it backfire on them due do a gap in their knowledge or experience. This error could result in consequences ranging from application interruption to never using this feature again even though the root cause was lack of proper training.
Even if organization looks to hire an individual from the outside who claims to have “expertise” in this feature, how viable or defensible is their expertise? As anyone knows, to truly be an “expert,” one needs some combination of education, knowledge, and hands-on training that can be quantified. But without a means to objectively measure this combination of factors, organizations remain in this position of having to subjectively select the “best” person for the job based upon what they allege they can do.
The need to select the right person to do backup has become particularly important as of late. “Backup” is more than just backup. It is archiving, It is restores. It is business continuity. It is disaster recover. It is compliance. It is data management. This is now a position for someone who has the right combination of education, training, knowledge and experience to execute upon it. This raises the concern, “How to confidently find that person and justify that recommendation?“
CommVault answers this dilemma very well with the unveiling of its customer education services (CES), certification program and online learning portal. Using the tools available through this portal, IT staff may equip themselves with as much (or as little) information as they need to do their specific job.
CommVault’s VP of Global Education Services and Customer Support, Robert Brower, suggests that the goal of this portal is not necessarily to make one an expert in CommVault Simpana or even “graduate” through each course level to achieve a certificate of completion. Browser says, “Each person should first determine what they need to fulfill in their specific role within their organization. Once that is done, they should then select the courses and training which best equip them to perform their job.”
This mindset represents a marked departure from educational options available from other providers. However CommVault still recognizes the value of training and equipping people so they have the necessary skills to fulfill whatever job that they might be performing – be that an entry level backup software operator, a data protection architect or somewhere in-between.
To satisfy these varying requirements that organizations have – and provide the quantifiable measurements that they still need and want to select the right person to fulfill these various roles – CommVault offers courses and curriculum that equip them to perform that job. Then to gauge their mastery of the skills needed to perform the job, the educational portal provides tests and simulations that verify grasp and understand the material they have reviewed and learned.
The education advantage portal also creates a profile for each person. This profile includes an assessment of each person’s skill level with CommVault Simpana which is scored and ranked. These scores and rankings may be used by organizations to determine who are the best people to assume certain responsibilities or even when deciding whether to hire from within or without.
This gives organizations a tool they can use to objectively and defensibly measure an individual’s overall competency and ability to administer CommVault Simpana. Likewise, it also provides individuals the objective third party certification that they need to illustrate and document their existing level of proficiency with CommVault Simpana while providing them a means to continue to improve and enhance their skill.
Education is great but its value is most clear cut when it maps to a specific, quantifiable business need. Using the CommVault online learning portal, its value is immediately evident to businesses and individuals alike. It may be initially used to ensure that available base-line features are successfully implemented and utilized without putting either the individual or the business it risk. However its longer term value is putting the individual on a path that their skills are recognized and defensible and the business has a high degree of assurance that its data is protected and maintained by a person with the appropriate skill level to do so.