Experts tackle skill gaps at DCW

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Data Centre World (colocated with Cloud Expo, Big Data World and Smart IOT) welcomed a record-breaking numbers of visitors from across the entire IT ecosystem. Hosted in London, this tech event, now in its 10th year, demonstrated that investment in the UK data centre industry continues at pace, despite uncertainty over Brexit.

GDC Technics, a leading aircraft modification centre providing maintenance on Boeing and Airbus aircrafts, announced at Cloud Expo that it had made the decision to move its IT infrastructure from Munich, Germany, to the UK, with London being a prime location. With Volta Data Centre’s operations team support, GDC has been able to complete the entire relocation project within four days, with no downtime affecting its multiple on-going projects.

High on the agenda at Data Centre World was the risk of outages caused by human error and the need to tackle key skills gaps in the industry. Professor Robert Tozer, from London Southbank University, revealed that the university has been working with industry to fully understand exactly what these skills gaps are.

Speaking to Mission Critical Power, Professor Tozer commented: “Tech UK and 451 Research have identified a need for training. The growth in data centres in the UK, alone, is around 10-15% year on year and around 40,000 people work in data centres in the UK.

“The industry has been growing and growing. The problem is that academia is producing professionals, each with a specialisation, whether it is in mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, or IT, but they have no idea of the context of the data centre. People are being educated in silos.”

He unveiled plans to address the skills gaps, identified by industry leaders, with the launch of a new Data Centres MSc. Continuing the theme of knowledge gaps in the sector, Simon Brady, Vertiv’s Head of Data Centre Optimisation, EMEA, highlighted the need to tackle poor understanding of thermal optimisation and energy wastage in data centres. He pointed out that 29% of unplanned outages are due to thermal issues, while the average data centre cooling utilisation is under 38%. More than 35% of energy consumed by data centres is attributed to cooling, so getting it right can have a dramatic impact on the bottom line.

Ali Moinuddin, Uptime Institute’s MD (Europe), also highlighted that coporate responsibility is becoming more important for data centre operators and their customers, and this is driving a focus on energy efficient IT: “It takes leadership and commitment to deliver results in terms of efficiency and sustainability within an organisation,” commented Moinuddin.

Significant savings can be achieved by tackling under utilisation of servers, refreshing technology and employing automated asset management, he pointed out. LinkedIn, for example, worked with Uptime Institute to deliver significant improvements and was awarded Uptime Institute’s Efficient IT (EIT) Stamp of Approval. Next year’s Data Centre World will takes place on 12 -13 March 2019, at ExCel, London.

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