Data Center Certifications: EMC, Cisco, VMWare

Some worry that the migration of on-site data centers to the cloud will hurt the job prospects of data center professionals. Not so, says Gartner AnalystDave Cappuccio, who believes there’s a staffing crisis in the sector. The shortage stems in part from the difficulty in retaining data center staff, the retirement exodus of baby boomers, and virtualization.

All of this is creating more jobs, especially for those with a broad skill set. Search Data Center on Dice and you’ll find listings for storage professionals who have skills ranging from SQL, Linux and Java to Windows, networking, WAN and SAN.

Writes Cappuccio:

Traditionally a storage manager had end-to-end responsibility for capacity, throughput, performance and availability. But when virtual infrastructures are using SAN’s, and Fiber Channel is running over Ethernet, who has responsibility for the overall storage environment; the network team, storage team, virtualization team, or server team?

The answer, Cappuccion says is “all of the above,” which requires not only deep skills in a particular area but an understanding of the relationships between converging technologies.

Dr. Mickey Zandi, managing principal of consulting services at Sungard Availability Services, sees difficult times ahead when it comes to finding the people data centers need. With storage, networks and computing becoming more integrated, staffing is tight and training for these skills is extensive and expensive, he says.

But new training is essential, he continues, especially since certifications are going to play a greater role in data center staffing decisions. In order to remain viable, you should focus on getting cloud-related certifications from the likes of Cisco, EMC and VMWare – especially Cisco’s Nexus platform. In the meantime, Zandi recommends researching and learning other domains, delving into technologies you wouldn’t ordinarily work with, and taking advantage of any online training you can.

“Many data center workers are retiring, but have never been involved in knowledge transfer to the younger generation,” he says. That’s something you can take advantage of.

— Chandler Harris