Transforming Data Center Generalists into Specialists

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TOM ROBERTS<BR/>AFCOMTOM ROBERTS
AFCOM

Tom Roberts is President of AFCOM, the leading association supporting the educational and professional development needs of data center professionals around the globe.

As demand for data centers and interconnection services surge in the Asia Pacific, many providers are flocking to the region and setting up shop. In fact, some 200 colocation facilities have taken root with India, Japan and Hong Kong combining for the top three spots.

And Melbourne isn’t far behind. This second largest and fastest growing city in Australia is fast becoming a technological hub with more than 8,000 information and communication technology companies. IBM has its Asia-Pacific Software Solutions center, Microsoft and Ericsson have R&D centers, and Fujitsu has software development operations located in the city. Agilent, eBay, Cisco, NetApp, EMC and others also have offices there. Digital Realty Trust, Inc. opened its second data center in Melbourne last year.

It also happens to be the location for the upcoming Data Center World—Asia/Pacific Symposium, September 1st through 3rd at the InterContinental, The Rialto in Melbourne.

Skills shortage

This influx of data centers and technology created a shortage of 4,600 IT professionals at the end of 2013 in Australia alone. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not a lack of bodies causing the problem; it’s the lack of pros trained in and knowledgeable enough about the newest technologies and trends facing today’s data centers.

The generalists of yesterday must become specialists today in order to fill the gap. That’s where Data Center World comes in. Our goal is to contribute to the ongoing need for education in the Asia-Pacific region so that a “western” migration, so to speak, doesn’t take place to fill the vacant positions.

Forrester Consulting recently conducted a survey on behalf of Digital Realty to find out what will drive the next wave of data center capacity—and need for more specialists—in Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan and Australia. Virtualization, Big Data and consolidation were the top echelon followed closely by business growth, business continuity and storage growth.

Here’s a breakdown according to country:

  • Hong Kong: data center consolidation; and Big Data related technology investments
  • Australia: Big Data related technology investments; virtualization; and data center consolidation
  • Singapore: Big Data related technology investments; and virtualization
  • Japan: data center consolidation; virtualization; and storage growth

It’s not surprising that 50 percent of survey respondents also said their budgets will grow up to 10 percent over the next year, with nearly 60 percent from Australia and Singapore saying so. The majority indicated that they are planning some form of expansion within the next four years as well.

Embracing new technologies

The data center industry is flourishing across the globe, and there are more opportunities than ever for professionals in this field. The ones most likely to succeed moving forward will embrace new technologies, expand their skills and stay current with the drivers of next generation data centers.

Regardless of the region in which you live and work, if you find yourself falling behind the data center times, commit to furthering your education and broadening your knowledge. It is the only way to guarantee your position in the industry.

Industry Perspectives is a content channel at Data Center Knowledge highlighting thought leadership in the data center arena. See our guidelines and submission process for information on participating. View previously published Industry Perspectives in our Knowledge Library.

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