Data Center Staffing Still A Challenge

Finding qualified applicants to staff enterprise data centers remains a problem, but a new survey says the number of companies who say they are understaffed has improved from 2007.

Finding qualified applicants to staff enterprise data centers remains a problem, but the number of companies who say they are understaffed has improved from 2007. That's one of the key findings of Symantec's State of the Data Center 2008 (PDF) report, which was released today.

While the staffing challenges are slightly improved on a year-to-year basis, many companies continue to report problems finding workers, even as internal mandates to "do more with less" are raising expectations.

Thirty seven percent of data center executives say they are understaffed, compared to 52 percent in Symantec's 2007 survey. Meanwhile, the number of respondents who say they are neither overstaffed or understaffed jumped by 15 percent, from 41 percent to 56 percent.

Forty eight percent say finding qualified applicants is a big or huge problem, which is aggravated by the need to staff distributed data centers.

The other notable shift in the survey dealt with user expectations. Ten percent of respondents said it was becoming "much more difficult" to meet the service levels demanded by other parts of the organization, while the number of executives who found it "easier or less costly" to meet expectations shrank from 18 percent in 2007 to 12 percent this year.

"IT managers and executives are in a tough spot," said  said Rob Soderbery, senior vice president of Symantec's Storage and Availability Management Group. "Cost reduction is a non-negotiable objective this year, while user expectations remain high and demand continues to rise."

See Symantec's State of the Data Center web site for additional details and analysis.

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