Can DCIM help bridge the data centre skills gap?
Thu 5 Dec 2019 | Mark Gaydos
Putting smarter solutions in place now will save time, money and talent in the future
The skills gap is striking multiple industries and is making headline news across the many facets of the technology industry. The data centre industry is certainly not immune to this issue, central as the industry is to the technology ecosystem. Cloud technology has carried this issue for a long time by shifting on-premise workloads away to help mitigate the skills gap within enterprises, however, as the complexities of the data centre increase and IT strategies grow, the gap is still widening.
Busy data centres are lavished with new technological advances making it extremely difficult for the put-upon data centre managers to stay trained with the new skills and abilities necessary to utilise the technologies that can optimise the business experience for their users. Quite often there it is a ‘one-person band’ holding down the fort and trying to offer the business the best experience possible.
As a generalisation data centre managers tend to stay in their roles for years and find a lack of a new protégés filling the recruitment pipeline to take over. Some eye-opening research this year found that 16 per cent of current data centre professionals will be retired by 2025, globally, meaning that organisations are in need of a solution to this massive resource and skills issue.
So, what can be done to solve this ever-growing issue? Innovative technology holds the key to solve some of the key operational challenges and enable knowledge transfers between IT teams and the business in order to bridge the gaps that stymie a smooth-running operation.
Implementing the right solutions to save sanity
To start the data centre industry on the road of skills-to-business-need harmony, there needs to be time for reflection on what is working and what can be improved within each organ.
Having the correct solutions in place really makes the difference. A good DCIM tool, for instance, gives considerable time back to the data centre manager. This time can be spent on training up new team members and developing new skills to keep up with the ever-changing technology landscape – rather than tracking assets and discovering which need attention.
Where a great DCIM can make the difference is in the cataloguing, tracking and maintaining of all the current and new assets – taking a huge weight off the data centre manager’s shoulders. It can also compile all new changes into an easily digestible dashboard so every team member from the data centre manager to the C-suite can understand at all times what is happening and why. This enables the health, compliance, resource usage, and security status to be known, acted on, and reported correctly.
Being resourceful and keeping efficiency
To lessen the blow of the skills gap it is important to keep the data centre running efficiently and to manage what the organisation already has. Saving money on resources allows the business to invest in essential training to keep the gap at bay.
DCIM is able to identify underused and outdated technology for the infrastructure team. This allows managers to reassign workloads to make the best use of the assets they have already on-hand rather than buying more hardware to overprovision.
The solution can also make the data centre a more sustainable business. By quickly analysing all the technology assets and their power requirements DCIM can ensure the correct power, cooling and workloads are being used for the space and the technology present. This helps businesses maximise their output and allows them to set even more ambitious business goals on a leaner organisation. Reinvesting the money saved from managing the technology efficiently into hiring and training to upskill existing employees for the future is one way to smoothly contribute to long-term planning goals.
Automate to innovate
There is a lot of fear surrounding automation as it can feel as though technology makes the human role redundant. Data centre managers should turn this fear on its head – automation offers great relief to those mundane jobs which often are the most time-consuming. It’s a boon to data centre workers who have traditionally spent their days in time-consuming activities, armed with a clipboard and a great deal of patience.
Automation is only going to become more prevalent in the data centre industry as augmented reality (AR) and assistive technologies make their mark. We’ve seen the use of AR in consumer gaming but we now see it creeping into the data centre to battle the skills gap. The capability of AR can assist workers in locating and interacting with the physical management of data centre assets which is a great kick-start when training new staff as well as speeding up the process for staff to meet time-based customer SLAs.
What does the future hold for the skills gap?
The skills gap is not going to resolve itself. Businesses need to prioritise ensuring that data centre managers have the right tools to help them train the future employees who’ll one day run the data centre in all its future glory.
DCIM and automation alleviate the mundane tasks which take up precious time. As we draw close to 2020, the demand for new talent to pick up the slack will heighten. Putting smarter solutions in place now will save time, money and talent in the future.