Going green is a corporate mandate the world over, and that leaves many IT organizations deciding whether they need a point person for green efforts across the data center, King says. "This professional would focus on deploying green technologies — as well as steering away from deployment of non-green technologies. Because green technologies often improve operational efficiencies, such people would actually pay for themselves over and over again," he adds.
5. Resource management.
Along the same lines, the ability to finesse conversations between IT and facilities is becoming a critical skill in the data center, says David Cappuccio, managing vice president and chief of research for the infrastructure teams at Gartner. "Building a capacity plan when you don't take into account energy consumption and heat dissipation is a plan in a vacuum," he adds. "You need somebody on staff who can actually track these things, talk a facilities language and translate it back to IT." These skills are sometimes packaged in a position called resource manager or facilities liaison, Cappuccio says.
At Citigroup, they're wrapped up into a position called data center planning and critical systems engineer, says Jim Carney, executive vice president of data center planning for the New York-based global financial services firm.
In fact, Carney says, "No data center manager I would ever hire could be blind to the facilities side of the business because it's so integral to their uptime."
At PricewaterhouseCoopers, "the hottest skills and the people who are most difficult to find are mechanical and electrical engineers who have a decent knowledge of technology and a working knowledge of current equipment and systems," says Rick Ancona, deputy U.S. CIO and CTO at PwC, a professional services firm with U.S. headquarters in New York.
"If you built a data center even three or four years ago vs. now, you're using very different concepts. Even with virtualization, that's really around electrical loads and cooling. That's the engineering complexity that having denser servers introduces," he adds.
Lights-out, remote data centers only work because of network technology, Citigroup's Carney says. That places networking skills at a premium. "Data center managers need to be cognizant of networks — network configurations, hardware and vulnerabilities," he says. "We need people who have really good networking expertise or a network background."
PwC, likewise, wants people who have networking prowess as it builds out its data center strategy, Ancona says.
In particular, it is looking for people in the network operations center monitor and response space, which are "critical positions that help assure the overall availability of the environment and maximize uptime," adds John Regan, director of data center services for PwC..
8. Financial analysis.