Five Reasons Why Future Investment in Data Center Personnel Is Increasing15 min read

by | Jul 5, 2018 | Blog

If you’re in the data center business, you may have noticed that business is booming. I’ve seen mergers, acquisitions, new deployments, edge locations, fresh construction, and new investments happening all over the data center industry. In fact, a recent report from Jones Lang Lasalle shows that 48 deals totaling nearly $20 Billion occurred in 2017. That’s almost exceeding the total 2015 and 2016 volumes combined. The trend will remain for the next several years as players continue to expand the scale, services, and expertise. Here’s another significant trend from their report – enterprises’ growing need to be near end-users will drive an uptick in growth in smaller satellite markets. The increasing importance of “edge” markets will begin to play a more significant role in data center strategies. 

Finally, their report indicates that data centers have become exponentially more complicated in recent years, which really shouldn’t be a big surprise to anyone. Complexity applies to every facet of the business: facilities, hardware, user requirements, and solutions. JLL says to expect a jump in the industry’s need for remote monitoring, cloud-based management, and customized deliverables. 

So, what challenges has this brought to data center leaders? Well, the saying “good help is hard to find” certainly applies here. Many organizations are investing in more data center and IT personnel. In fact, the majority of respondents from the latest AFCOM State of the Data Center Report indicate that they have increased their investment in IT and data center personnel in the past three years. The top three drivers of increased investment include demand for on-site coverage, improved training and certification requirements, and retention costs for existing staff. 

So, aside from the growth that the data center is experiencing, there are five big reasons that this investment in personnel is increasing. Moreover, if you’re in the market for a data center job – pay attention and focus on these areas: 

  1. Cloud is impacting the way we work with and design data centers. Let me give you a concrete example from the AFCOM report. That is, respondents are most likely to be looking for Cloud Architect and Cloud Security skill sets, followed by data center, cloud, colocation, and connectivity expertise. Cloud is impacting why we’re seeing growth regarding the data as well as the kinds of people we hire.  
  2. Edge is a big reason why data centers are experiencing growth. We see so much more data center distribution. Moreover, Edge is a big reason why this is happening. Personnel who can work with edge design are in significant demand. Consider this; the AFCOM report found that four in ten respondents have either deployed or planned to implement Edge compute capacity. The typical respondent plans for the following estimated mean number of edge locations over time: 5.6 currently; 6.4 within 12 months; and 12.2 within three years, serious growth to consider. 
  3. Security, outages, and disaster recovery are growing concerns. No one wants to experience a disruption. Moreover, the value of our workloads and data is increasing every day. People who keep your data center fully operational are critical. Good people will never replace even the best technologies. However, good people can help you invest wisely to ensure that they can provide more value to both the business and the data center.  
  4. Data center management and efficiency are becoming even more complex. Managing today’s data center is becoming more complex. AFCOM reports that the job skills respondents believe in requiring certifications that include data and network security, facilities management, internet security, virtualization, network training/skills, the architecture of hardware and software, and cloud. Again, number two on that list revolves around updated skills in managing facilities. Introducing best practices concerning efficiency, power management, space, cooling, airflow, and much more must be done. 
  5. IT and data center operations are now vital parts of the business. Hiring good data center people doesn’t only mean getting good technologists on board. In fact, a significant requirement is that they can speak the language of business. Leaders in the data center space are looking for data center personnel who can help align core business strategies with IT and data center initiatives. The more your people can align business and IT; the more competitive and successful your offering will be. 

It’s been fascinating to see the data center grow and evolve. More interesting is how established data center leaders are working with younger data center employees and future leaders to make a difference. For example, Green House Data recently pointed out that “smart organizations will strive to appreciate and understand millennials” and invest in hiring and having more onboard. I attended a session in which Shawn Mills, CEO of Green House Data, made some excellent points about how he keeps his millennial workforce happy and motivated. Data centers should seek to understand what drives your workforce, how you can help them bring value to both themselves and the organization, and how to align everyone with the same vision of growth. 

Don’t just invest in data center personnel. Do so with a real purpose and reason. You should have an understanding which technologies you’ll be investing in and where good people can help. Strategic hiring and adequately aligning your resources will lead to happier people doing great things for the organization.  

Bill Kleyman

Bill Kleyman

Industry Analyst | Board Advisory Member | Writer/Blogger/Speaker | Contributing Editor | Executive | Millennial

Bill Kleyman is an award-winning data center, cloud, and digital infrastructure leader. He was ranked globally by an Onalytica Study as one of the leading executives in cloud computing and data security. He has spent more than 15 years specializing in the cybersecurity, virtualization, cloud, and data center industry. As an award-winning technologist, his most recent efforts with the Infrastructure Masons were recognized when he received the 2020 IM100 Award and the 2021 iMasons Education Champion Award for his work with numerous HBCUs and for helping diversify the digital infrastructure talent pool.

As an industry analyst, speaker, and author, Bill helps the digital infrastructure teams develop new ways to impact data center design, cloud architecture, security models (both physical and software), and how to work with new and emerging technologies.

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