• United States

Does automated management mean loss of control?

Apr 03, 20033 mins
Data Center

* Your chance to weigh in on the automated management discussion

Edmund Cartwright patented a power loom in 1785. At that time, Nottingham England was the center of the British weaving trade.  The products produced there were of a very fine quality and the high standards of both products and craftsmen were maintained through a system of guilds.

Entrance into the weaving guilds was tightly controlled, and no one became a journeyman weaver without all the necessary training.  Guild members set prices for their products, maintained standards and exerted influence over almost every aspect of production. 

By 1812 however, everything changed.  The weaving machines were now generally available, and many factory owners had purchased them.  As these devices could turn out cloth in much less time and at a far lower cost than the weavers themselves could ever hope to, the factories that did not buy the new machines began to fall to competitive pressures. 

As a result, increasing numbers of factory owners took advantage of England’s abundant river power to automate their factories, and the weavers lost their power.  At this point, enter one Ned Ludd.

Ludd was a weaver, described in contemporary documents as a “feebleminded lad” who, perhaps “accidentally,” broke two of the weaving machines in his factory.  Many weavers decided that, accidentally or not, this was a pretty good idea, and a brief and profoundly unsuccessful revolution followed, with weavers smashing as many of the new looms as they could get their hands on.  Eventually the government caught up with the weavers and market pressures caught up with the guilds. 

It was the Industrial Revolution that won out, of course, and ever since then people who have resisted technological change have been referred to as Luddites. 

I note today that many managers still aren’t willing to sign off on the concept of automating their site’s storage management software or, if they are willing to do so, don’t trust the policy engines that lie at the heart of most automated management software today. They will automate, but only to the extent that their tried and true scripts allow them.

Are these people Luddites?  I don’t really think so.  But why won’t they let go of the reins?

Perhaps IT managers are just a generally mistrustful breed.  Perhaps, even in these competitive times, they still don’t see the need for this stuff. Or perhaps they are like the 19th century weavers of Nottingham England, many of whom saw the threat of automation not only in terms of job security, but also in terms of the quality of the work the newly automated looms turned out.  Many IT managers today weave a pretty fine cloth themselves.

A colleague and I are examining how enterprises perceive the need for automating IT infrastructure management.  It is an interesting topic, and one that many vendors are betting the farm on.  If you haven’t already done so, please look at the survey and let us know what value automating the storage management process may have for you.  All you will have to do is check off the appropriate answers, which should take you less than 10 minutes.

If you can tear yourself away from the joys of managing your storage resources and would like to participate in this survey, please go to