The Data Center Skills Shortage Issue and how to overcome it

  • Vimal Kaw
  • Apr 01, 2020
  • 3 min read
The Data Center Skills Shortage Issue and how to overcome it
Even as data center usage grows exponentially, new data center skills are in short demand. We look at the skills shortage issue and highlight the steps you can undertake.
The data center industry is one of the most fast paced industries, and it is extremely difficult for companies to keep pace with new demanding skillsets. The data center​ industry is a complex one as it requires different skills for different job profiles -- you require data center facility technicians, networks professionals, database professionals, applications specialists and people with good physical infrastructure (electrical facilities, cabling, mechanical) skills. In addition, data centers required trained and certified people in facilities management, network security and project management.
There is also a huge requirement for skills in cloud, load balancing, network engineering, security and new areas such as AI. In some cases, specific software or database setup skills are required. These include MongoDB, Hadoop or knowledge of Chef, Splunk or Ansible.
In a survey conducted by Uptime Institute in 2018, over 50% of the data center respondents reported that they were either having difficulty finding candidates to fill open jobs or were having trouble retaining data center staff. Research firm, Gartner says that infrastructure and operations (I&O) skill gaps will cause 75 percent of organizations to experience visible business disruptions by 2020.
Countering the shortage
While traditionally, data center skill sets have focused on mastering one specific skill set, today's data center requires people to have cross functional skill sets. For example, the move of the industry towards software-defined data centers and networks has called for network engineers to augment their skill sets to have more knowledge of software. Some networking jobs today require programming skills and writing of basic scripts. With rise in hybrid cloud deployments, organizations are struggling to find personnel skilled in handling both cloud and non-cloud environments. Additionally, today's modern data center requires personnel equipped with new skills such as data analytics. This is required to gain intelligent insights from data center monitoring tools, and using them to improve data center efficiencies.
Organizations can counter this challenge by retraining in-house manpower. However, this is easier than done, as organizations may not have access to an adequate pool of talent or may have time constraints. One more compelling option is to outsource infrastructure management to specialist service providers such as NTT Netmagic.
By taking the outsourcing route, enterprises are no longer challenged by the data center skills shortage issue. Instead, they gain access to a skilled team with extensive expertise and experience of cloud technologies at a much lower price point. Further, cloud managed services are flexible and can be customized as per your requirement and depending on your budget.
Other big benefits include:
  • Managed Service Providers (MSPs) such as NTT Netmagic have skilled manpower and are well trained with the latest certifications
  • As most MSPs serve a large number of clients, they can pass on the savings to the end customer
  • MSPs score over traditional in-house teams as they have the required trained manpower and skillsets to monitor and mitigate threats constantly and ensure regulatory compliance
  • A MSP with a global footprint can also give you continued infrastructure support or information protection for all your infrastructure assets across the globe
  • Organizations can also look at MSPs for addressing specific skill related gaps in their data center team. For example, this could include skills like database security, perimeter firewalls, forensics, SIEM expertise, DLP, IPS, end point security etc. In some verticals such as healthcare, organizations can also take the help of MSPs that have some experience in understanding the unique requirements
While the data center skills gap is a key challenge for organizations, outsourcing to a specialist provider can go a long way in mitigating these challenges.
Vimal Kaw

Vimal Kaw

Head of Product, Datacenter, NTTGDCI


Vimal Kaw heads the Data Center Services for NTT Ltd, a US $11 billion global technology services company. With more than two decades of industry experience, Vimal is responsible for effective Data Center capacity management. In this capacity, he is overseeing the technical aspects of the collocation business and providing end-to-end support for the entire value chain – from conceptualization and development of collocation products and services to regular pre-sales customer engagement, solution/service design and customer project delivery.

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