A Data Center Staffing Shortage?

Michael Vizard

It may be hard to fathom given the high number of unemployed IT professionals currently available for hire, but companies could be confronted by a talent shortage in the data center.

According to Dr. Mickey Zandi, managing principal, consulting services, at SunGard Availability Services, there are two trends that are converging to make this a very real possibility. The first simply has to do with our aging population and systems. Many of the data centers in operation today are heavily dependent on legacy systems such as mainframes. Secondly, many of the people with the skills to manage these systems might not be as readily available, says Zandi.

Because of this issue, many IT organizations may want to think about modernizing their IT infrastructure in ways that make them easier to manage. But the issues that will still need to be addressed will be finding people with the skills required to deploy and manage these systems. While many of these systems are easier to manage, they are based on new converged server, storage and network architectures that a lot of IT people are not trained on.

The end result, says Zandi, is that IT organizations are probably going to have to rely a lot more on IT automation and remote managed services to compensate for a lack of skills. Of course, it may be in the best interest of the government and vendors to make sure there are plenty of trained professionals around, but the fact of the matter is that companies are trying to reduce the number of full-time employees they need at almost every turn.

And worse yet, many of them are not interested in providing the funding necessary to train their workers on new technologies for fear of losing them to other companies after they have paid for the training.

The data center as whole is going through a massive period of upheaval. Given the odds that those transitions are going to be anything but smooth, it stands to reason that shortages of trained IT staff in the data center could become a very real possibility before anyone realizes it.

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Feb 2, 2011 3:02 AM Anonymous Anonymous  says:
If you have used Sunguard, it's already evident that they have an IQ and work ethic shortage in their data centers. A client of mine moved from Sunguard to RackSpace---Wow-Rackspace is soooo much better. Reply
Aug 6, 2011 10:08 AM Anonymous Anonymous  says:
Yes, I agree, the staffing shortage is a joke. They have been advertising on TV and job boards for schools like ITT Tech and Phoenix - get into the computing field where you will make gazillions, and won't have to work on the garbage truck no more! They are now hiring people that have the exact experience in a certain program, although they couldn't take much longer than a week to learn. They wanted Certifications but then found out that people had certs but didn't know how to do it. Then they didn't want to pay extra for education so they advertised for a HS education for a C++ programmer senior! You get what you pay for! You can't have an educated work force without training them, and yes, another employer may come along and take them, because they are as just as greedy as the first employer that doesn't want to train. If somebody doesn't have the education in the first place they will never be able to go very far in improving a company. The money is on intellectual capital, but they want to hire people that don't even know the theory, much less the valuable information that professors can teach regarding programming and other things. We need to just get back to the stable workforce that is better than any other in the world. The way it is now reminds me of a bars slogan I heard once. We cheat the other guy and pass the savings on to you! There is no such thing as a free lunch! Reply

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