Originally posted on Innovorg

According to Uptime Institute’s Annual Survey, over 60% of data center operators cite IT staffing and skills gaps as primary concerns. With new technologies like cloud, AI, edge computing, and virtualization rapidly evolving, today’s already stretched teams lack the skills mix required to maximize infrastructure performance, meet SLAs, and avoid outages/compliance risks. This poses a threat to the ongoing health and well-being of the global digital infrastructure industry, particularly data center operators which store, host and push data traffic all day, everyday.

In addition, research analyst firm Gartner predicts that by 2025, 90% of data center managers who neglect strategic workforce development will face severe operational inefficiencies. The root causes extend beyond just technical skills gaps to include poor workforce planning, role confusion, misaligned training investments, and lack of clear career pathways. This suboptimal workforce management costs the average data center over $500,000 annually in lost productivity based on research by the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA),  a leading advocate for the $5 trillion global information technology ecosystem. To stay competitive, data center operators must prioritize developing their workforce’s capabilities and aligning skills with operational needs.

The Path to Optimized Data Center Operations

Industry experts consistently highlight the critical need for data centers to invest in upskilling their workforce on emerging technologies like cloud, automation, security and managing hybrid/edge environments. As Rhonda Ascierto of 451 Research/S&P Global Market Intelligence states, “skills deficits are a major roadblock…organizations need workforce enablement tools to properly upskill and reskill staff.” Gartner’s Henrique Cecci echoes this, noting “training and certification pathways must constantly evolve to ensure teams can handle next-gen workloads.”

However, effective workforce development requires an integrated, holistic approach according to analysts. IDC, the premier global market intelligence firm’s analyst, Ritu Jyoti, explains, “data centers need skills management that aligns learning with operational roles, goals and KPIs – with visibility into skills inventories and targeted training plans.” Uptime Institute’s 2023 Skills Report recommends a comprehensive workforce enablement strategy that identifies gaps, curates personalized content, tracks skills acquisition, and ties development to performance goals.

Why Data Center Efficiency is Critical Now

The operational efficiency challenges facing data centers are becoming amplified by two significant industry trends. First, there are intense sustainability demands, with data centers accounting for 1-2% of global electricity consumption. Second, as edge computing architectures rapidly increase with micro data centers located closer to devices/users, data center staff must be capable of remotely optimizing and managing these distributed edge sites. Below are a few examples of the operational efficiency challenges facing data centers today.

  •  Minimizing environmental impact requires optimizing energy usage through renewable sources, liquid cooling, heat reuse, and more.
  • The rise of AI workloads is exponentially increasing rack densities and power needs, with 10% of data centers predicted to require over 1MW per rack by 2025 according to Gartner.
  • Efficiently managing high-density AI environments requires skills in liquid cooling, advanced monitoring, workload optimization, and more.
  • Remotely managing sites requires skills in virtualization, containerization, and software-defined infrastructure, which are critical for consistent hybrid operations.
  • The growth of data centers is straining electrical grid capacities, creating a need for data center professionals to collaborate with utilities on load balancing, renewable integration, smart grids and efficient power distribution.

In essence, these emerging efficiency trends are driven by unstoppable forces like data proliferation, new AI paradigms, and environmental accountability which data centers can only capitalize on through a comprehensively skilled workforce enabled by solutions like skills management platforms.

Reach out to Innovorg at contact@innovorg.com to ind out more about how your organization can begin workforce development.

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