Antonella Corno is Senior Manager of Product Strategy for Learning@Cisco.
Today’s data centers bear little resemblance to those of the past in terms of the responsibility they carry. For digitized businesses, the data center is the hub of a whole new realm of possibilities. It serves as a versatile reservoir of data and software and must remain up and running to serve the organization and its customers.
Enterprises need access to data from anywhere. 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. Thus 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.
Spending on data centers will rise to $16 billion by 2019, according to IDC. 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.
In such an environment, the skills that data center professionals must have are changing rapidly. Those who embrace this development and learn new skills will be rewarded. The ones who don’t will be left behind.
Skills Needed in Modern Data Center Infrastructure
To upgrade data center architectures for today’s digitized world, data center professionals need advanced skills. While deep product and technical knowledge is still necessary, IT professionals focused on 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.
Professionals in the today’s data center 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.
Shouldering these new skills enable you to turbo-charge your value to the organization. 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.
To validate these skills, the good news is that there are certifications that data center professionals can obtain. IT professionals with data center certifications can tackle challenging roles in today’s complex data centers.
New Skills for the Data Center
Skill-based certification and training enables IT practitioners to optimally plan, implement, and run IT data center network infrastructure in support of agile and innovative business initiatives.
The knowledge and skills should serve learners at all levels, from the beginner to the advanced professional. Training should enable the IT practitioner on topics such as:
- Basic skills for installing, configuring and maintaining data centers
- The basics of cloud computing, automation and orchestration of data center infrastructure
- Unified computing
- Data center virtualization
- SDN management and monitoring
- Data center security
- Policy-driven infrastructure
- Storage networking
- Evolving technologies like IoT and cloud
The data center has become the foundation of the digitized business. Investing in the learning and development of data center employees is critical to the life of the business. IT practitioners need to understand how to harness new data center technologies to deliver business agility. By equipping team members to manage the modern data center, businesses proactively prepare for their success.
Opinions expressed in the article above do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Data Center Knowledge and Penton.