Just last week I wrote about how the roles and responsibilities of IT staff will change as cloud computing becomes more accepted in the enterprise, with engineering types working for managed services providers as the number of companies running their own data centers dwindles.
Already, the folks that design and run data centers are finding themselves in an unfamiliar limelight, with companies clamoring to recruit them. Salaries for such positions have grown 20 percent over the last two years, reports The New York Times, with veteran engineers now earning six figures. Companies are wooing data center experts with five-figure signing bonuses, retention bonuses and ample stock grants.
This after years of toiling in "relative obscurity," according to the article, while software developers and Web designers commanded the big paychecks and much of the tech glory. But engineers' status will continue to grow along with companies' insatiable appetite for infrastructure and their desire to make their data centers more energy efficient.
Customer demand for data facilities is far outpacing the ability to build and equip them, says Chris Cosby, an SVP for data center landlord Digital Realty. It takes the company as long as eight months to find a data center administrator in today's ultra-competitive environment.
The article includes some compelling statistics to illustrate companies' dependence on data centers as well as the need to retool them. Among them: The number of servers in the U.S. grew from 2.6 million in 1997 to 11.8 million in 2007, according to IDC. The nation's data centers also doubled their energy consumption over the last five years, with consumption expected to double again by 2011. According to surveys, 30 percent of U.S. companies defer new tech initiatives because of a lack of adequate data center facilities.