The burdens placed on modern data centers far outstrip those of days gone by. Digital transformation has re-imagined the data center as the heart of untold and exciting possibilities for today’s businesses. It functions as a dynamic repository of data and software that organizations and their customers rely on. In short, it must remain up and running.
The speed of business today mandates that organizations be able to access 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.
IDC forecasts that by 2019, spending on data centers will rise to $16 billion. The research firm also predicts 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 continually and rapidly evolving situation means that data center professionals must update their skills. Those who embrace this development and learn new skills will be rewarded. The ones who don’t will be left behind.
What Today’s Data Center Infrastructure Requires
Data center professionals need advanced skills to upgrade data center architectures for today’s digitized world. 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.
A much broader area of knowledge and expertise is required of today’s data center professionals. 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.
Professionals will greatly enhance their value to the organization by taking on these new skills.
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.
Fortunately, there are certifications that data center professionals can obtain to validate these skills. IT professionals with data center certifications can tackle challenging roles in today’s complex data centers.
Upskilling for Today’s Data Center
IT practitioners are empowered by skill-based certification and training to optimally plan, implement and run IT data center network infrastructure in support of agile and innovative business initiatives.
From the beginner to the advanced professional, the knowledge and skills should serve learners at all levels. Training should enable the IT practitioner on topics such as:
- The basics of cloud computing, automation and orchestration of data center infrastructure
- Basic skills for installing, configuring and maintaining data centers
- Evolving technologies like IoT and cloud
- Unified computing
- SDN management and monitoring
- Data center security
- Data center virtualization
- Policy-driven infrastructure
- Storage networking
For businesses on the journey of digital transformation, the data center has become the hub. For organizations to thrive in this new environment, they must invest in the learning and development of data center employees. To bring agility to the business, IT professionals must become well-versed in the latest data center technologies. Organizations create their own success by preparing IT teams to manage today’s data centers.
Antonella Corno is the Senior Manager of Product Strategy at Learning@Cisco. She actively manages the development of the learning portfolio, overseeing a team that translates information from hardware and software developers to architects of technology training and certification. After spending more than two decades across two continents working in technology research and development for leading Information Technology (IT) firms, Antonella understands the challenges that individuals face when entering, training and updating skills in the IT industry. Antonella works tirelessly to build frameworks for these individuals to enable the learning process.
Antonella is a CCIE Emeritus, has spoken at several international conferences, and holds multiple international patents.