A Data Center Staffing Shortage?

    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.

    Mike Vizard
    Mike Vizard
    Michael Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist, with nearly 30 years of experience writing and editing about enterprise IT issues. He is a contributor to publications including Programmableweb, IT Business Edge, CIOinsight and UBM Tech. He formerly was editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise, where he launched the company’s custom content division, and has also served as editor in chief for CRN and InfoWorld. He also has held editorial positions at PC Week, Computerworld and Digital Review.

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