For businesses undergoing digital transformation, the data center has taken on a pre-eminent role. It takes on much greater responsibility than data centers of the past, serving as the nucleus for previously impossible opportunities. As the storehouse of data and software, it must serve the business and its customers by experiencing as little downtime as possible.
Today’s organizations need the ability to access their data anywhere, at any time. They must analyze it instantly and then use it to make rapid decisions closer to where the data came from in order to fuel innovation and reach their desired business outcomes. As a result, the business need has changed from simply connecting devices. It is now about securing, aggregating, automating and drawing insights from the data these devices generate -- all done in a way that opens up new markets and new business models.
By 2019, according to IDC, data center spending will hit $16 billion. The research firm also forecast that by 2018, 60 percent of companies will rely on highly instrumented data centers that use automation to boost efficiency and tie data center and IT spend to business value.
This scenario mandates that skills be updated quickly and constantly. Data center professionals who embrace this development and learn new skills will be rewarded. The ones who don’t will be left behind.
New skills for a new infrastructure
In this era of digital transformation, where data center architectures must be upgrades, data center professionals need advanced skills. While deep product and technical knowledge is still necessary, IT professionals focused on the data center are expected to have skills and knowledge depth and breadth with multiple technologies that enable the data center for 'IT-as-a-service' agile infrastructure.
The age of the generalist is upon us. Today’s data center professionals will be expected to cover a much broader area of knowledge and expertise. A few specialists will remain, but more and more they will need new skills and be expected to take advantage of new technologies focused on data center infrastructure. These infrastructure-oriented skills span servers, storage, networking, and hardware. Other skills cover software, the cloud, virtualization and secure date center and data protection.
Learning these skills and assuming a broader role will increase professionals’ value to the enterprise. Automating IT tasks shortens the time needed to get applications running and to meet business needs better. Data center professionals need to know how to use SDN policies that take into account business needs across physical and virtual networks, servers, storage, security and services. They must also integrate all physical and virtual environments under one policy model. All of this enables businesses to derive greater value from growing volumes of data in a faster timeframe. It also significantly boosts IT responsiveness without additional resources.
In anticipation of this need, learning providers stand ready with certifications that data center professionals can obtain to validate their skills. IT professionals with data center certifications can tackle challenging roles in today’s complex data centers.
Training at all levels
Certification and training based on real-life, hands-on skills equip IT practitioners to effectively plan, implement and run IT data center network infrastructure in support of agile and innovative business initiatives.
Training content should comprise skills and knowledge that benefit learners at all levels, from the beginner to the advanced professional. Training should enable the IT practitioner on topics such as:
- Unified computing
- Basic skills for installing, configuring and maintaining data centers
- The basics of cloud computing, automation and orchestration of data center infrastructure
- Storage networking
- Evolving technologies like IoT and cloud
- Data center virtualization
- SDN management and monitoring
- Data center security
- Policy-driven infrastructure
Plotting a course for success
Today’s data center has taken on a prominent role in enterprises undergoing digitization. Businesses that understand the need for skilled IT personnel to guide this journey will invest in the learning and development of data center employees. Data center professionals must also be proactive in their career development by seeking training so they can deliver business agility through new data center technologies.