The same digital transformation initiatives that have revolutionized the way in which government, healthcare organizations, education institutions, and private enterprises operate have had a massive impact on the data center industry. As the need and demand for digital services have exploded, the number of data centers has increased exponentially to keep pace.
But the changes we’re seeing in the data center industry aren’t just limited to the number of data centers and data center campuses that are in existence or being built. The change is also happening within the data center, and on the data center campus, itself.
The increased density of today’s data centers, the connectivity they require, and the importance they play in our increasingly connected society are all trends that have converged to not only evolve the data center as we know it, but to also shape and change the skills, roles, and responsibilities of the people that work to outfit data centers and keep them running.
Let’s take an in-depth look at how data centers of my early career compare to data centers driving the digital transformation across the public and private sectors today and talk about the career opportunities they’re creating for people with a wide set of skills and abilities, anxious to work in a growing industry with almost unlimited potential.
More Dense, More Connected, More Secure
When I broke into the technology integration and cabling installation industries, data centers weren’t the monolithic concrete juggernauts that dot the landscape of Silicon Valley and Data Center Alley today. Rather, data centers were often single rooms with raised floors to accommodate copper wires and enough wall-mounted air conditioners to keep the equipment inside cool enough to keep functioning.
Today, data centers are massive, highly-specialized buildings that power incredibly essential devices. In fact, it’s almost impossible to think about an operation or process being done within a government agency, school, university, or hospital that isn’t enabled by data stored in a data center, or an application running in a data center.
Within these incredibly specialized and important buildings are disparate data centers and network rooms that house the equipment that keeps those applications running and accessible.
As the nature of those applications has changed over time, evolving towards microservices –disparate, small services that all have their own function or capability – the way the data center is designed and outfitted has also needed to change. Today, a single application could be comprised of dozens or more microservices – and all of those microservices could be housed in a different room or on a different floor within in the same building – or in a different building on the same campus.
The new nature of today’s applications means data centers need to be incredibly well-connected. The days of high quantities of low voltage copper cable running within or between rooms of the data center, exclusively, are almost gone.
Today, latency and connectivity requirements demand fiber to be running everywhere. Demand used to be 1G or 10G and has now evolved into 40G, 100G, and even 400G. And all of that fiber needs to be installed, terminated, and maintained to ensure optimal connectivity and performance moving forward.
Today, data centers are essential to government agencies, private enterprises, and large technology companies. Sizes and scale vary, but all are critical, nonetheless. And people who would want to cause damage or harm to those organizations know the important role data centers play in their operations and offerings. This makes security paramount for data centers. But not just any old security.
The nature of the threat facing data centers has also evolved and shifted. It’s no longer enough to have a few guards checking IDs at the front door of a data center. Today’s data centers utilize complex Internet of Things (IoT) sensors to perpetually monitor for threats. They utilize AI to analyze the activity that those sensors pick up and data they generate in real-time to identify if action is needed. And all of these sensors and systems need to be installed, connected, and optimized to meet the needs of the data center operator.
All of these changes and all of this evolution in the data center does more than just increase their capability to power today’s digital lifestyle. It’s creating opportunities, careers, and a new digital economy.
Evolution = Opportunity
As the data center has evolved over the past decade, so has its complexity. And that complexity has created new roles and responsibilities within the data center.
The increased density of today’s data centers, coupled with their immense connectivity requirements, has drastically increased the amount and importance of fiber optic connectivity both inside the building and between buildings on a data center campus.
Data centers and the technology integrators which service them need people who can run and terminate the high-density fiber optic cable that is the backbone of a modern data center if they’re going to meet their connectivity requirements. They need people who can help manage and oversee the installation of this high-density fiber during construction. They also need people who can manage their connectivity infrastructure and make necessary changes to fiber optic cabling as their needs and requirements change during operation.
The evolving threat facing data centers has also created new roles and responsibilities within the data center. Today’s data centers are utilizing some of the most sophisticated security infrastructure tools and capabilities on the marketplace. The data center owners and operators need individuals with the industry certifications and knowledge necessary to install these solutions and ensure they are working optimally to keep the data center safe.
And these are just a few of the changes that we’re seeing in today’s modern data centers, and how those changes are reflected in the workforce needed to power data centers. With so many moving parts, the size and scale of the teams to deploy these solutions continues to evolve and we have to be strategic and nimble enough to evolve with the constant changes.
The end result of all of this change is a new digital economy that needs skilled workers in numbers that we’ve never experienced before. And this is why E2 Optics is currently operating three training centers across the country, working tirelessly to give a new generation of workers the skills and certifications they need to succeed in this new digital economy.
Digital transformation is a top priority across today’s government agencies, educational institutions, healthcare organizations, and private enterprises. Mission-critical data centers are powering that transformation, and that is creating massive opportunities across the country for a new generation of workers with the skills and abilities to build, operate, and maintain today’s more complex, highly-specialized data centers.
To learn more about the current career opportunities at E2 Optics, click here.