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How to Handle the Data Center Talent Shortage Through Outsourcing (Without Duplicating Costs)

Mariela Misiano •

In all regions of the world, data center capacity is expanding rapidly. While in 2016 data centers stored an estimated 870 exabytes (EB) of data, by 2021 the figure was projected to be 2,300 EB, according to reports from Statista.

This expansion generates a list of challenges for data center operators. One of the most concerning, though, has to do with people and not technology. The lack of specialized personnel is a reality that affects all types of data centers, from edge to enterprise to hyperscale facilities.  

The Uptime Institute study, "The people challenge: Global data center staffing forecast 2021-2025", estimates that the global demand for data center professionals will be 2.3 million in 2025, which includes more than 230 specialized roles for different types and sizes of data centers, from design through operation.

Although less dramatic in proportion, this situation is similar in Latin America. The same Uptime Institute study states that the demand for data center professionals will be 21,000 technicians by 2025, with increased pressure on markets such as Brazil, Chile, Colombia, and Mexico.

Improving Availability While Addressing the Skill Gap

As data centers move into a post-pandemic period with higher digital demands, it is even more important that they have the staff to preserve uptime 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

In the absence of filling these technical professional roles in-house, outsourcing operations and maintenance services through a single company can add value to data center operations without increasing headcount.

Vertiv has 700 specialized technicians in Latin America, which allows regional customers to have remote experts monitoring and ensuring the continuity of critical operations, and even maximizing their resources.

Vertiv’s preventive maintenance services not only ensure that vital applications are working properly, but also help optimize equipment life cycles. By ensuring peak system performance, data center operators can ensure greater efficiency in their OPEX spending.

To quantify the benefits of preventive maintenance, Vertiv analyzed data collected by its service organization for over 185 million hours of service, in more than 5,000 three-phase UPS units, and more than 450 million hours of service for more than 24,000 battery strings. This returned the following results:

  • The average time between failures (TPEF) of the UPS for units that received two annual preventive maintenance service events, is 23 times greater than a machine without any annual service events.
  • 37% of all downed units on unmaintained customers were due to bad batteries.
  • Customers with both battery maintenance and remote monitoring had not experienced any power outages due to bad batteries over the three-and-a-half year span.

According to the Ponemon Institute, total shutdowns of the core data center averaged 138 minutes in 2020, and each of these minutes carries a high cost in revenue, time, and reputation. Engaging 24/7 remote monitoring, preventive maintenance, and local factory-trained technicians with access to spare parts allows for faster response to events that could result in data center downtime.

Further value of preventive maintenance service for customers lies in the intelligence and engineering that allow them to exploit the efficiency of their equipment and investments.

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