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Half of All Data Centers Understaffed 211

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the they-just-need-one-uriah dept.
alphadogg writes "Fifty percent of IT executives say their data centers are understaffed, and companies are still looking for more ways to cut costs, according to Symantec's latest 'State of the Data Center' report. Sixteen percent of survey respondents said their data centers are extremely understaffed, and another 34% called their data centers somewhat understaffed. At the same time, data centers are becoming more complex and harder to manage, with more applications, data and increasingly demanding service-level agreements. 'Data center complexity has led to a lot of staffing challenges,' says Sean Derrington, director of storage management and high availability at Symantec."
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Half of All Data Centers Understaffed

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  • by ascari (1400977) on Monday January 11, 2010 @09:53AM (#30722342)
    And the other half runs Linux!
    • Re:Th e other half (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Penguinisto (415985) on Monday January 11, 2010 @11:16AM (#30723366) Journal

      Laugh all you want, but there's a kernel of truth in that. All the *nix servers in my care mostly run on autopilot, and I pop in only once in awhile to check up on them, change/enter something in BIND, occasionally patch the ESX machinery, or put in the occasional patch that yum or ports can't get out of a repo (e.g. our custom help desk site software).

      OTOH, a huge chunk of time is spent in Exchange and SharePoint - mostly chasing down errant mails, or fixing bugs and glitches. To be fair, those two bits are customer-facing, thus more open to calls - but even still, so is our help desk site (which runs on Linux), and I rarely have to bother with that on the back-end. Also, I've run pure *nix email setups before, and it never ate as much time percentage-wise as Exchange does now - even when chasing bounces.

      On average, the 'doze servers eat about 95% of my time, but they comprise only 60% of the population.

      Nota Bene: One thing I've found to be awesome - get up a script that sends a copy of your Exchange logs to another box... that way you're not fighting store.exe for RAM when you want to parse through them, and you can use a real text editor (vi or EMACS - you pick) to read them.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by TooMuchToDo (882796)

        Nota Bene: One thing I've found to be awesome - get up a script that sends a copy of your Exchange logs to another box... that way you're not fighting store.exe for RAM when you want to parse through them, and you can use a real text editor (vi or EMACS - you pick) to read them.

        We grab the Exchange logs off the box every 15 minutes and shove them into Postgresql. We can then use a PHP interface to view them. Very nice compared to notepad on the Exchange box.

      • Server OS is not the only thing in the datacenter that needs staffing. Facilities work (cabling, power, cooling, etc), SAN, Network infrastructure, and that's without even getting into the middleware or applications themselves.

        Even if your base servers administered themselves, it still takes quite a staff to actually do something with those servers.

      • by Eskarel (565631)

        You're not really comparing apples to apples there. Of course basic services which aren't used directly by end users and which are based on technologies from the stone age don't really require an awful lot to administer. They never do, regardless of their manufacturer. Even IIS doesn't really take all that much looking after once you've got it configured properly and it's probably one of the crappiest web servers around.

        Exchange on the other hand is user facing and has a complex feature set. I know a lot of

      • "get up a script that sends a copy of your Exchange logs to another box"

        Woah! Are you saying you invented syslog for Windows.

        I would patent it. Fast.

    • Re:Th e other half (Score:4, Interesting)

      by ka8zrt (1380339) on Monday January 11, 2010 @11:20AM (#30723410)

      -1 or more about not thinking this through though. (and not funny at all)

      As someone who has until recently done research in data centers and their operations, and personally dealt with the *NIX side of *NIX vs. NT years ago, I know the reality as opposed to the half-thought-out dreams some have. Yes, *NIX makes it much simpler to manage a machine, and increase the (servers/admin) ratio, among others, but it is not a solution which scales to where one person can administer 10K servers. As you add servers and applications, that ratio will reach a limit where you have to add yet another admin (operational, network, hardware, etc.). And should that site not be willing to do so, you end up with one of those "understaffed" data centers. Where that point is reached depends on a multitude of factors, including the behaviour of those using the data center (stupid developers, hands on users or workload characteristics cause that point to be reached sooner), the applications (a bunch of database servers will likely reach it before an equivalent amount of web servers), the amount of storage on those servers, and even the individual admins and how they are organized themselves. Throw in things like buying the cheapest hardware, or buying bleeding edge hardware (say 1.5TB drives when they first come out, or 10Gb ethernet cards), and it gets even worse as you try to deal with first generation drives failing or buggy drivers.

      Can two people administer 500+ servers with 1.5PB of storage? I know personally that it is possible. But to do it and keep everyone 100% happy? No. And that precludes things like having people who are hard to satisfy, having to backup all that data, running it in a non-university production environment, etc. When I left CompuServe in 1997, the numbers were far different, with IIRC 25-30 operators of varying skill levels, about 10 of us in admin positions (who were called upon by the operators when they could not handle something), and around half a dozen or so network and hardware folks. Total number of servers? Around 1200 running BSD/OS, and around another 1000 running either our proprietary OS on systems which came out of the DecSystem 20 designs, or systems running a specialized NT 3.51 load, and perhaps a total data storage of around 1.5TB. And things were simplified by things such as having dozens of machines which were identical handling application X. Of course, we also had 3 data centers, and did backups of at least one of each machine in a given group. And then there is the fact that some applications required the developers to administer the application itself.

      And looking forward... There were no regular 12 hour shifts at either of these. Yes, I was on call darn near 24*365 (I got vacation time off at my latest employer, but at CSI, I was on call even during vacation, and averaged 80hrs/week at the end). But when the fecal material hit the fan, and we had unusual problems like a computer room flooding or a critical server failing... it was possible to have to put in a 24 hour shift. Such is the life of a senior systems engineer in an operations group, which is one reason I try to avoid positions like these.

  • by HBI (604924) <kparadine AT gmail DOT com> on Monday January 11, 2010 @10:03AM (#30722470) Homepage Journal

    50% of all datacenter operators lie about their staffing levels.

    • by halcyon1234 (834388) <halcyon1234@hotmail.com> on Monday January 11, 2010 @10:15AM (#30722622) Journal

      50% of all datacenter operators lie about their staffing levels.

      The other 50% didn't return calls in time to be included in the survey.

      • by barzok (26681)

        The other 50% didn't return calls in time to be included in the survey.

        Because they were too busy trying to fix too many problems with too few staffers on hand.

    • by INT_QRK (1043164) on Monday January 11, 2010 @11:18AM (#30723392)
      The problem is that staffing levels are very often highly subjective. For most concerns, the complaint of being "under staffed" only indicates that the current staff feels overworked, a condition almost universal in all sectors of a healthy, i.e., growing, organization. For the ISO 9000-ish (or ITIL?) crowd, under staffed might mean that some formal document published a desired level at some specific point in time, the best against a workload study, and industry rules of thumb. But, since every such study measures a specific point in time, they become out of date, often obsolete by the time full staffing achieved. So, "fully staffed" is ever elusive, and this applies to every sector. We're all Bozos on this bus. In fact, any staff that's manned to the point that they're not feeling some pain risks being seen as over staffed, and a target for reallocation or cuts. Sorry to put a damper on any delicious feelings of workforce martyrdom. People also get mad at me when I point out that, by definition, nearly half of the population ranks below mean intelligence.
      • " People also get mad at me when I point out that, by definition, nearly half of the population ranks below mean "

        That's because you're wrong, nearly half ranks below the median, that doesn't mean nearly half ranks below the mean. If you rank intelligence from 1 to 10, and you have 10 people with a rank of 1 and 2 people with a rank of 10, you get an average of (30/11)=2.72. It actually doesn't matter what the number is, by definition half would not be below the mean.

        Now, it may well be that half the popula
        • by INT_QRK (1043164)
          Regarding median, yes, you are absolutely correct, half above, half below. Regarding your quibble, however, I guess I need to amplify by saying that over a large enough sample (or given a sufficiently large population), intelligence (or any trait for that matter) will tend to be distributed roughly half above and half below the mean, or top dead center of a standard distribution, or "Bell," Curve. Mmmkay?
        • by NFN_NLN (633283)

          " People also get mad at me when I point out that, by definition, nearly half of the population ranks below mean " That's because you're wrong, nearly half ranks below the median, that doesn't mean nearly half ranks below the mean. If you rank intelligence from 1 to 10, and you have 10 people with a rank of 1 and 2 people with a rank of 10, you get an average of (30/11)=2.72. It actually doesn't matter what the number is, by definition half would not be below the mean. Now, it may well be that half the population is below average intelligence, but that isn't the definition.

          That's a great sample size of 3 you have there. If you have a sufficiently large sample size it will start to more closely resemble the normal-distribution model. Keep in mind the normal distribution still has variables to tweak the model, so no I doesn't have to a perfect and/or symmetric classic bell-curve.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by turtleshadow (180842)

        Very, Very few Center Managers actually performed any kind of statistical process control analysis for quality in the datacenters I worked for which were huge and did work for .gov, finance and top 500 and they barely did it. They eventually fired the poor guy as he kept proving management wrong. We had long conversations that helped me understand technology for what it was: "La Technique: L'enjeu du siècle" was an eye opener.

        Very few managers understood what project management & change windows wer

  • by Joe The Dragon (967727) on Monday January 11, 2010 @10:04AM (#30722498)

    12 hour shifts are not the answer as well makeing people work every weekend holiday night while the boss / PHB never does any of that.

    • by scarolan (644274) on Monday January 11, 2010 @10:41AM (#30722968) Homepage

      12 hour shifts are not so bad if you only work three or four days a week, alternating every other week.

    • For almost every company I worked for the Boss seems to work an average of 10-16 hours a day, 7 days a week and Always on call. I had to do some traveling with my Boss once. Although it always seems like he comes in from 10-3 every day. They are usually working for the rest of the time.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by scamper_22 (1073470)

      100% of all IT jobs understaffed.

      Methinks it is about time we got a professional body (or for those so inclined a union). They would set things like standards, work requirements, exams to work in a data center, and of course we can use it to make sure job stay local as the other professions do. I mean how can you trust your data to a non-professional data center. I mean, do you trust people to manage their own medicines?

      I say this only have cynically. If you can't beat em, join em. We have to stop pret

    • I see a special assignment in your future ;-D

    • I agree with the statement but not the reason.

      Doctors, Nurses, Medical Staff, Police, Fire/rescue often work 12 hour shifts and holiday.

      However those professions realize and have by experience been bitten by the consequences which aid them in helping the professional know their limits and the limits of their peers.

      First these professionals make mistakes during the day. More so when overtired, Even more so when out of their normal sleep pattern. Technology professionals somehow ignore this and think they are

  • by starbugs (1670420) on Monday January 11, 2010 @10:05AM (#30722506)

    > 50 % understaffed, 16 % seriously.
    So how many of you have to answer your blackberries after work?
    Is this not the kind of situation that a Union would prevent?

    (just an honest question btw, I'm not trying to troll)

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jeffmeden (135043)

      You aren't trying to troll and neither am I. It IS the kind of situation a union would prevent, however considering everything else that has been done for union's sake lately (see: destruction of US auto industry) I would suggest you take the unionization decision VERY seriously. How exactly, considering that funding isn't sufficient for staffing at the current expense, do you expect companies to afford to bankroll a union AND get more staff to man the servers? In all likelihood you will end up with lowe

      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 11, 2010 @11:46AM (#30723736)

        however considering everything else that has been done for union's sake lately (see: destruction of US auto industry) I would suggest you take the unionization decision VERY seriously.

        Hahaha. As much as I dislike unions, the destruction of US auto industry was caused by complacent & incompetent US auto industry management.

        The US auto industry kept designing & building cars at a price point that few people wanted to buy. Simply put, foreign car companies (on average) made better, more reliable cars.

        The union wanted better salary & benefits for their members (entirely understandable, we all want to make more money). But if management agreed to ridiculous levels of compensation, to the point where the business is no longer viable, then that is the fault of management for making stupid decisions.

      • by mpapet (761907) on Monday January 11, 2010 @12:43PM (#30724410) Homepage

        Unions were invented to protect unsuspecting workers from manipulative business owners

        No. It was really much simpler than that. People were tired of working for peanuts. Lots of people were tired of working for peanuts. Lots of those people were plenty smart. How else do you think they got organized?

        Before unions, the institution of the 5-day work week was another long, hard-fought, pitched political battle that business was *sure* would absolutely end the U.S. economy. When Ford doubled pay and shrank working hours, the rest of American industry would not follow because from a capitalist's perspective, you are blowing your labor costs out of site! History suggests it seemed to have worked for Ford.

        You don't get to blame organized labor for all of the auto industry's ills. Maybe you recall the Pontiac Aztek as possibly the apex of bad auto product? The labor that allocated resources for that project and a long history of uninspiring ones before that, weren't part of a Union. What's the managerial ratio at those companies 'burdened' by Union labor? What are the managerial labor costs at those firms 'burdened' by Union labor? I think you will find them both expensive and inefficient non-union workforces.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Working_time [wikipedia.org]

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eight-hour_day [wikipedia.org]

        It's time to bury that notion that Unions cripple an economy. It's used primarily to reinforce the ridiculous American ideal of 'rugged individualism triumphs over all" and concentrates power and resources to the least efficient few.

      • by jotaeleemeese (303437) on Monday January 11, 2010 @01:27PM (#30725138) Homepage Journal

        Like if producing gas guzzlers that are inefficient and brake easily is the fault of the unions.

        I thought that the geniuses commanding those huge bonuses, golden hand shakes and parachutes were the ones dictating corporate policy.

        But hey, whatever rocks your boat matey.

      • by br00tus (528477)
        I think there will be manned missions to Mars before a real union of IT workers is formed in the US, nevertheless I find some of these statements to be incorrect.

        "everything else that has been done for union's sake lately (see: destruction of US auto industry)"

        And what destroyed the US textile industry? North Carolina has the lowest unionization rate in the country, 50 of 50, yet over the past years textile factories have been closing all over North Carolina and moving to other countries. What you're s

    • by gclef (96311) on Monday January 11, 2010 @10:26AM (#30722774)

      That's going to be very dependent on the union. (Devil's always in the details.) Many IT folks still have the free-wheeling "just get out of my way & I'll get this fixed" attitude, and in those cases union interference in their work will not be welcomed.

      Basically, a collective bargaining agreement is one thing...having someone outside the organization set the bounds of your job (and set limits on how you can be promoted, or which incompetent f-up can be fired) is quite another. I won't say a union is impossible, but it probably wouldn't be one of the big names.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by kionel (600472)
        I've been an advocate for an IT Union ever since my father-in-law and I talked about how the CWA helped his career.

        Consider this: The Union forced his major telco management to:

        Plan changes well in advance.

        Coordinate technical resources to ensure no overloading.

        Allowed the technical resources the legal right to push back on after-hours changes, due to labor laws.

        Provided hefty compensation bonuses for technical resources forced to work more than forty-five hours per week.


        As a result, he
    • Is this not the kind of situation that a Union would prevent?

      Short answer: Yes, it would likely provide that benefit, but with several other large costs, some unforeseen.

      Slightly longer: It's all a trade-off, no free lunches, so decreasing workload would require more spending on staff (either more hires as existing ones become less productive, or compensation for overtime, etc) which would either make the service increase in cost or decrease in quality. Unionizing isn't always a win or always a lose -

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 11, 2010 @10:07AM (#30722526)

    Does this really surprise anyone?

    Many data centers these days are no longer run by engineers or technologists, who have at least some idea regarding the technical aspects of the operation. Rather, many of them are run by people who received their higher education in finance, commerce, accounting, "business" or (perhaps worst of all) even marketing.

    Of course, such people have a very hard time seeing beyond the numbers, since they usually have absolutely no understanding of technology, nor what it takes to truly run an effective data center. They insist that the current number of staff are sufficient, even when they clearly aren't, and even when they could easily afford to hire more employees.

    I think this just reflects a greater problem of the American corporate society as a whole. People with actual technical knowledge in a specific field get pushed out in favor of people with meaningless MBAs (but all of the right "connections"). So it's no wonder American productivity and competitiveness is grinding to a halt.

    Other areas of the world, namely Asia, India and Eastern Europe, realize that it isn't the accountants and financiers who provide productivity, but rather the engineers, scientists and technologists. That's why they can build better cars at a far lower cost than their American competitors can, for example. That's why Korea and Japan have broadband networks that put to complete shame anything in America.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by jittles (1613415)

      That's why they can build better cars at a far lower cost than their American competitors can, for example.

      Ahh I was somehow under the false impression that they were able to make cheaper cars due to lower wages, less environmental regulations, and the lack of labor unions.

      • by vlm (69642) on Monday January 11, 2010 @10:32AM (#30722852)

        Ahh I was somehow under the false impression that they were able to make cheaper cars due to lower wages, less environmental regulations, and the lack of labor unions.

        Actually it only takes about $2K of labor to build all cars and trucks. Some robot factories cost less, some cost more.

        Most of the revenue goes to executive bonuses.

        I'll buy American made, Japanese managed, cars. But I won't buy Mexico made, American managed, cars.

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          I'll buy American made, Japanese managed, cars. But I won't buy Mexico made, American managed, cars.

          I don't trust the cars today, and if you go into the past you automatically get into buying German cars from Germany, American cars from Estados Unidos Norteamericanos instead of Mexico, Japanese cars from Japan, etc. Every car I've ever owned has actually been built in the country that hosts the automaker. Most of them have been crap anyway :)

          It's not that I think there's no good cars being made now, it's that there hasn't been enough time to figure out which ones are good...

        • by Fastfwd (44389) on Monday January 11, 2010 @11:23AM (#30723448)

          Actually it only takes about $2K of labor to build all cars and trucks

          That's probably true of most things/services. There is an amazing amount of "friction"(ie: added cost) from all levels of management, marketing, etc. Some of it is necessary, a lot of it is not. It's strange that the people you are 100% sure you need(engineers/builders) are often at the bottom of the salary food chain.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by TheLink (130905)
        There are also the past commitments the companies made like hefty pension schemes.

        If your company never got itself into those, costs are lower. Otherwise you might find that one worker has to be productive enough to pay for 2 retirees, (as well as the CEO's cut ;) ).
        • by jittles (1613415)
          Well, that was why I included unions into the equation. It is the pension programs that the unions helped negotiate that are so costly.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by diamondsw (685967)

        That's why they can build better cars at a far lower cost than their American competitors can, for example.

        Ahh I was somehow under the false impression that they were able to make cheaper cars due to lower wages, less environmental regulations, and the lack of labor unions.

        In Japan and South Korea? Are you joking? These countries are the very essence of technology-driven.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by fm6 (162816)

        You're confusing Sweden with China. In Sweden (and most of Western Europe) environmental regulation is actually tougher than they are in the U.S. And wages are not that far behind ours.

        Funny you should make that mistake when all the right wingnuts are making so much noise about the imaginary conspiracy to turn the U.S. into a "European Socialist" economy that can't compete at all:

        http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/11/opinion/11krugman.html?em [nytimes.com]

        • by jittles (1613415)
          Sweden may have stricter standards than the US, but I think the US has stricter standards than Korea, China or India. I'm not sure about Korea though.
    • by Himring (646324) on Monday January 11, 2010 @10:30AM (#30722832) Homepage Journal
      IT will forever baffle the top brass in most companies. Your dollar-men didn't get their via tech, but by handling the blood of the place -- the money. Engineers -- or those with that inclination and aptitude -- stay in the lower echelons. Those at the top are the game players, politically savvy -- honestly, cold. I think most engineer-types dolefully lack the ability to play the political games needed to rise to a CO position in a company. Is it any wonder that CIOs are the least positions to ever make CEO?

      All of this being said: a data center is technology, and technology is a mystery. To top it off, it's not getting any easier to understand. "Cloud computing? What's that?" Says the old CO who still uses an AOL account ... that he hasn't logged into in years....

      Bottomline: spending money on tech is always something the big brass knows they have to do, but do so begrudgingly....
    • by gusmao (712388)
      This is not a problem specific to data centers, but rather to IT in general.

      In the company I work for, the development team was first reduced by half (all contractors were let go), and then further sliced by 20%. Nobody from the business/management side was dismissed, and keep in mind that those people's job is just to tell the engineers what to do. Things got to the point that now we have more people giving orders than people to actually follow them through.

      Meanwhile, the deadlines got more aggressiv

    • by brucmack (572780) on Monday January 11, 2010 @10:51AM (#30723068)

      I work for a Swedish company that understands the value of IT and invests resources in it accordingly. Based on my experiences with other Western European countries, this isn't abnormal.

      The difference in work culture between here and the US is astounding. While it seems most American companies see IT as the place to save costs, the companies I've dealt with here recognize that our IT systems contribute directly to our competitiveness in the global market, and invest accordingly.

      • by jeffmeden (135043)

        The difference may stem from the US tendency to turn EVERYTHING into a data center. Have 100 employees? You need a room full of computers for that! 1:1 server ratio, after all, your team of medical transcriptioners needs sub millisecond response time for their document shares and non-work-related emails about cats saying funny things.

        I don't have any evidence to back it up but I would suspect that more mature companies (read: Western European ones) realize how and where to apply IT. In the US, it was a

    • Aside from Japan, those countries also have cheaper labor so cost is less of an issue with hiring

  • by vlm (69642) on Monday January 11, 2010 @10:13AM (#30722596)

    I believe understaffed means no one (in the US) is replying to the following ad:

    Want to hire data center cat5 cable install tech, mandatory 60 hr week overtime, weekend 2nd 3rd shift and holidays required, require CCIE, MBA, at least masters level degree (prefer phd), minimum ten years experience with "windows server 2008R2" yearly salary $25K/yr no benefits.

    Golly, we got us a shortage, best open the H1B floodgates!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by ITJC68 (1370229)
      The sick part is this is what you see. They want all this experience and pay nothing. I don't know about everyone else but getting degrees and certifications "cost" money to obtain. When the IT guys (myself included) stop selling ourselves short then the market will change. The problem is they starve some out and they will take a job they are overqualified for and get paid peanuts then the rest of the industry thinks this should be the norm. I have been in IT for over 10 years and this trend has not changed
  • by jamesl (106902) on Monday January 11, 2010 @10:14AM (#30722606)

    The original Symantec study listed seven bullet points and staffing was number four.

    Staffing and budgets remain tight with half of all enterprises reporting they are somewhat/extremely understaffed. Finding budget and qualified applicants are the biggest recruiting issues. Seventy-six percent of enterprises have the same or more job requisitions open this year.
    http://www.symantec.com/about/news/release/article.jsp?prid=20100111_01 [symantec.com]

    More important and certainly more interesting was the finding:
    ... the study found that mid-sized enterprises (2,000 to 9,999 employees) are more likely to adopt cutting-edge technologies such as cloud computing, deduplication, replication, storage virtualization, and continuous data protection than small or large enterprises to reduce IT costs and manage increasing complexity.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Spad (470073)

      Not really surprising; they fall into the range of companies who tend to have enough money to invest in new tech but lack the corporate clusterfuck that stops them from achieving any kind of change.

    • by jeffmeden (135043)

      "First we're gonna deduplicate it, then we're gonna replicate it! Why? Cutting edge cost savings, that's why!!!"

  • Thankfully I work for a company, that while it wants to cut costs all the time, they aren't ignorant of what needs to happen to make things run. Both my immediate supervisor and the manager one level up feel that there might be some staffing issues, and are taking the time to get a full data center assessment to both identify areas we are lacking, help with a road map, and most importantly put it all in a language the higher ups can understand and appreciate.
  • by electricbern (1222632) on Monday January 11, 2010 @10:16AM (#30722638)
    1. Lay off staff 2. Hire Oompa-Loompas 3. Profit!
  • Well duh! (Score:3, Funny)

    by smooth wombat (796938) on Monday January 11, 2010 @10:18AM (#30722654) Homepage Journal
    The vast majority of companies said they are having trouble finding enough money and enough qualified applicants to keep their data center staff at healthy levels.

    It's because they filter out qualified people who use an AOL email account [slashdot.org]!
  • Shouldn't a good data centre be staffed by no one at all?
  • by bogaboga (793279) on Monday January 11, 2010 @10:21AM (#30722698)

    Banks are "guilty" of under staffing too. You call a bank for help or a query on something very dear to you and here's what you are likely to face:

    1: A long wait for service after being informed that they've been "receiving higher than normal call volumes..."

    2: You then face a menu system that tries to keep you away from speaking to any human being...

    3: When you finally get to speak to a one, this human being knows nothing about what you need...or cannot help you!

    4: Or if he/she can be of any help, their accent makes you take "too long" to actually get service...

    5: When you decide to 'attack' your branch office to "actually get service", you realize that you are dealing with a fella who is paid small amount of cash...almost minimum wage...that they are actually inefficient...

    These financial institutions are guilty guilty guilty too.

  • Is this why cloud computing is supposedly cheaper (right now)? Someone should look at this as a data point and consider what the remedy might do to that cheap cloud computing. Here's a dot - it should be connected.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Well, here's one idea: there's a shitload of houses sitting empty all over the country. Perhaps the time has come for micro-data-centers which also provide lodging to their couple of employees. Sure, economies of scale provide some benefits. But in a cloud model there's less penalty for having computers scattered all over the planet...

  • by Zarf (5735) on Monday January 11, 2010 @10:22AM (#30722718) Journal

    ... most of the data center staff we tried to poll were too busy to answer the poll.

  • http://www.infrastructures.org/ [infrastructures.org]

    There's more, but it's a good start.

  • by petes_PoV (912422) on Monday January 11, 2010 @10:38AM (#30722938)
    It's a survey, folks - not real life.

    If you want to get a true picture of life in a data centre look at what the management actually do, what they spend money on and what they produce. If you rely on the answers they give you'll end up broke very quickly. The only way to tell if datacentres really are understaffed is if they start hiring more people: any other action just shows the lie in their responses.

    When managers say they need more staff, they generally mean they need more cheap staff (often to replace the expensive staff they already have). They could always fill any critical needs very quickly by offering more financial incentives (the only ones that really mean anything), but this almost never happens. Somehow they manage to bumble on with their "staff shortages" and still meet their targets.

  • 16 petabytes storage in production, two dozen or so unix machines, two mainframes, a godzillion Windows servers of the real and virtual variety, and 12 sites to service, two of which have not been migrated to our mainframe system yet and are using old, out of service systems that are not being properly maintained. 12 hour 1-man shifts after the last lay-offs (firings).
    All of that is shared between two sites and only two people per day. God yes, we are understaffed. Granted, we're in a transitory period,
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by scsirob (246572)

      If it is really as bad as you describe, take a couple of days sick leave. Have them figure it out for themselves that your job isn't easy and that they do not have a backup.

      Perhaps when one of those out-of-service systems dies in the interim, they feel the pain. They may look at you as being a valuable asset.

  • Perception (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gmuslera (3436) on Monday January 11, 2010 @10:58AM (#30723140) Homepage Journal
    They are surveying enterprises of certain size, and asking someone (who? the manager?) if their perception is if they are understaffed or not. Similar sized networks could be seen as under or overstaffed depending of how much troubles they have, how much busy they feel, a quiet datacenter with half of the usual staff could be seen as overstaffed if no troubles or most of the common trobles are solved automatically, compared with a chaotic one with lots of troubles. Where i work in a year we passed from a perception of understaffed situation, where troubles jump at every moment, to an almost overstaffed one, same datacenter size, almost half of the people, but better architecture.
  • Startups outsource data center work to cloud providers. These big companies that are struggling to manage their data centers are really only battling their own inertia and internal vested interests while the world around them changes. There is no reason, from 2010 onwards, for 90% of current data center efforts to not be in one of the clouds. The growth in usage of Amazon's AWS cloud is amazing. [allthingsdistributed.com] Avoiding data center management is the reason nimble companies working to get there.
  • These statistics don't mean much.

    The report says 50% of IT executives feel their company's IT is understaffed, 45% say it is appropriately staffed, and 5% say it is overstaffed. But how often do department managers of any type in any situation say they are overstaffed? 5% maybe? And how do these figures compare with the same question asked 5 years ago?

    So what's the next enlightening question? How many IT professionals feel they are underpaid?
  • Forgive the really really stupid question here, but what kind of staff do DCs really need? IO just opened a MASSIVE datacenter in Phoenix (where I live), and I've been trying to get an out-of-work friend of mine to apply there, but neither of us really know what you *do* in a datacenter.

  • I'm conflicted by this statistic. IT executives will tend to say that their data center is understaffed whether it is or not, (or more importantly whether they know it or not) because it serves to increase their empire.

    That said, I've been in some frightfully understaffed datacenters. It doesn't appear to bear much relationship to the work that actually needs to be done, more so with how good a salesperson the data center manager is. We have two power companies in my area, both do about the same job w

  • "Fifty percent of IT executives say their data centers are understaffed, and companies are still looking for more ways to cut costs, according to Symantec's latest 'State of the Data Center' report.

    Gee, you'd almost think Symantec sold software for data center management...oh wait, they do. [veritas.com]

  • One recent problem (at least in Europe, I suppose this may be more prevalent in the US) is the tendency of many companies to move, sensibly, datacentres out of town centres or business districts, but then forgetting that most administration can be done remotely (even Windows, ha, ha, ha) and trying to relocate their IT staff in the middle of nowhere as well.

    Any IT person worth hiring would desperately try to find a new job in a civilized place, thus companies are left with people that are not necessarily t

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