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Exclusive: ServerFarm CEO discusses data centre workforce woes
Tue, 16th Oct 2018
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Recently we were given the opportunity to have a chat with ServerFarm CEO Avner Papouchado.

Given the breakneck pace of innovation in the data center industry, there is no shortage of emerging trends, but Papouchado says the three biggest that are affecting today's data center are:

  • The rapid transformation of technology with the speed of network driving to 5G and requiring deeper infrastructure
  • The growth of IoT and anticipation of it delivering enormous amounts of data that will require both storage and compute
  • The need for edge computing or small data spaces everywhere to lower latency rates and provide IOT with the infrastructure it requires to deliver the information for the next iteration of growth

Not necessarily a trend but certainly a much talked about topic is that of gender disparity in the industry. Papouchado says ServerFarm is an advocate for change.

“ServerFarm is an equal opportunity employer who takes each candidate on their capabilities suited for each particular role. We are proud to have the majority of our staff qualify for minority status, though in basic terms we are constantly looking for the best person for the particular role,” says Papouchado.

“In terms of women in the tech industry, there are some great examples of women in C-suite roles in major global companies such as Yahoo, HPE, and Oracle. In order to build this level of interest in working in the tech field, it has to start at an early level with STEM programs being promoted in schools so that women understand they have a very important place in the technology world.

Papouchado is confident the industry is going to be growing exponentially over the coming years with the massive amounts of data that will be collected via the IoT, and so in order to remain growth, is preparing a competent workforce.

“One of the great challenges facing the entire industry is that, on a technical side, there is an aging population (about 50 percent) of the industry with about 5 percent new hires who are working to learn the industry,” says Papouchado.

“One of the things that ServerFarm is doing is focusing on key characteristics of individuals, and we find that often former veterans have the skill set that is easily transferable to the data center environment. So besides a solid package, we also offer competitive income and training for potential staff to take the skills they have gained in other locations, such as the military, and repurpose it for a dynamic growing industry.

In terms of the technologies ServerFarm is placing its bets on for the future, Papouchado says it's more about the people using those technologies.

“ServerFarm has heavily invested in the further of data center infrastructures as-a-service through our work with our people, our processes and a unique portal that provides deep insight into an entire global data center portfolio. We strongly believe that the success of this organisation is not the technology but the training of the people who will be implementing this technology,” says Papouchado.

“We choose to do this [invest in personnel] so we can offer our customers top-of-the-line teams to take the headache of running data center infrastructure off their hands and let them focus on the apps of the future.