Perhaps no technology industry has benefited more from the pandemic than cloud computing. The location independence of cloud services makes it ideal for a world where, in addition to most sales sectors, the average IT worker no longer needs to stay in the office.
So, will companies now rely solely on Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and no longer need their own on-premises data center and data center IT department? Analysts and futurists have been studying this question for nearly 10 years, but the cloud, which was powerful even before the cloud, has now crossed the inflection point and brought new implications to the problem.
The data center won’t disappear overnight, but there will be a fundamental change in its appearance. That’s good news for anyone currently working in a data center and considering a career there. This is because the introduction of cloud and other changes creates a new wave of opportunities.
According to the Uptime Institute, demand for data center workforce will rise globally from about 2 million full-time employees in 2019 to about 2.3 million by 2025. The expected increase in demand will mainly occur in cloud and co-location data centers. Uptime said that corporate data centers will continue to employ a large number of employees, but after 2025, cloud data centers will have more people than corporate data centers.
The Uptime Institute still struggles to find the right talent in terms of employment. In 2020, 50% of data center owners or operators worldwide reported having difficulty finding qualified candidates to fill vacancies (38% in 2018, see chart).
For IT professionals who want to join a new data center, it is important to distinguish between critical roles and skills with development demand.
Technical architectNow that the application is not deployed in a technology silo, the role of the technology architect is becoming more important. In the past, servers, storage, and security were separated for each application. However, modern data centers are built on a disassembled infrastructure where multiple applications share resources.
New infrastructure design skills are required to maintain high application performance while a wide range of applications share the underlying technology. And for this, high-level knowledge of network, storage, server, virtualization, and other infrastructure areas is required.
The data center designer’s job requires specific knowledge of the physical data center: power, cooling, real estate, cost structure, and other elements essential to the design of the data center. Designers help determine the physical security as well as the layout of the facility. The interior design of racks, flooring, and wiring is included in this role. If not done right, it will have a tremendous negative impact on the workflow of the technical staff.
Data Center Architect
Cloud managementThere is no single cloud provider. A new and constantly evolving corporate role is to select and manage cloud services (private/public/hybrid). Each cloud provider’s nature is different, some are strong in a specific area, and some are more suitable to provide a specific service. In some cases, a third-party cloud service is inappropriate and private cloud is the answer, especially when strict data privacy is required.
Cloud services should be constantly monitored and optimized to ensure that companies don’t overspend in some areas and underspend in others. At the same time, it shouldn’t cause performance problems by allowing cost optimization. This role requires the skills to properly evaluate cloud offerings and provide ongoing management.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML)The size of the data is enormous. Plus, it’s getting bigger every day. With the advent of edge computing, more data will exist in more places. Artificial intelligence and machine learning are required for effective data management. There are a variety of jobs across the spectrum of the AI lifecycle in this area, including training, modeling, programming, and providing human participatory engagement to AI systems to meet AI goals.
Data analysisThe data center of the future will be driven by large-scale data analysis. There will continue to be a trend where almost all tasks, such as IoT endpoints, video systems, and robots, generate more data. The data center operations department will also make important decisions based on the analysis of this data. Today’s businesses lack a manpower with analytics skills, especially those who know how to use AI/ML to accelerate analytics.
Software skillsMany IT engineers, including those who deal with network infrastructure, are hardware-centric. Of course, you know how to use the command line interface, but software skills aren’t. Most network engineers have never even performed basic software functions such as API calls. The API makes it much easier to do a lot more than analyzing the CLI using a script.
Not all network engineers need to be programmers (but those who want to focus on languages such as Python and Ruby) are all software advanced users and utilize APIs and SDKs to do administrative tasks. You have to understand how to do it. All modern network infrastructures are designed to be managed through APIs, many of which are cloud-based. The days of becoming CLI riders are over, and the unwillingness to admit it poses the greatest threat to today’s data center engineers.
Data center securityVarious jobs exist in the data center security realm, and these rules apply to both physical and cyber security. Data centers hold sensitive non-proprietary patent data, and breaches can have disastrous consequences for organizations. Physical security was addressed with badge readers and keypads, but there were many innovations, including AI-enabled cameras, fingerprint scanners, iris recognizers, and facial recognition systems. Over the next decade this area will be an interesting area.
As security information and event management tools migrated to machine learning-based systems, cybersecurity evolved, and security professionals began to see things that were not possible before. Additionally, many advanced organizations are introducing a zero trust model to isolate application traffic from other systems. Microsegmentation can be used to create a safe zone and minimize the’explosion radius’ of the spill.
Data center networkingThe role of networks in data centers has changed significantly over the past decade. The traditional multi-tier architecture, which was optimized for north-south traffic flow, has been replaced with a leaf-spine network designed for higher east-west traffic. It also provides virtual-fabric overlays for physical underlays using a Software-Defined Networking (SDN) system. Through this, automation, traffic, visibility, and cost effectiveness of data center networks are increasing.
Network engineers working in data centers need to become familiar with new concepts related to network fabrics such as Linux-based operating systems, open source network platforms, VxLAN tunnels, and Ethernet VPNs. This simplifies network operations as the network’s scalability, resiliency, and resilience increase. In addition, most of the modern data center platforms are open by design, greatly facilitating interoperability with providers, and eliminating the dependencies experienced by customers in the past.
Another aspect of data center networking that has changed is cloud connectivity. Historically, network engineers have been interested in networks inside controlled data centers.
With the advent of cloud and edge computing, networks have moved beyond the physical limitations of the customer domain to reach cloud providers through a wide range of domains. The network must act as a continuous fabric in all cloud locations. There are various methods for this, such as SD-WAN, SASE, and direct cloud connection.
Jobs outside the data centerWhat are some jobs where data center professionals can use their current skills as they get out of the environment? Unfortunately, these skills do not change very well. There are not many mainframe engineers or PBX administrators.
The jobs described above are promising. However, it will take a long time for the old data center to move to its future form. In any case, companies often adopt the spirit of’don’t fix if it doesn’t break’ in relation to the system that is essential to the business. Hence, those who are unable or unwilling to learn new skills may need to find employers in vertical industries where technology adoption tends to be slow, such as national and local governments, regional banks and specialized retail stores.
The future of the data center depends on a distributed cloud. Therefore, there is a sweeping change in the skills required for data center operation. The data center will not disappear, but it will be very different in the future, and this situation is attracting many people’s interests. [email protected]
Source: ITWorld Korea by www.itworld.co.kr.
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