StrategITcom’s Carrie Goetz Preview CAPRE’s 2020 Digital Infrastructure Outlook: “We’re About to Hit a New Point of Accountability in Compute”

CAPRE: Thanks for chatting with us today, Carrie. Talk to us about your unique perspective on the mission critical space.

Goetz: I’ve been in the industry for over 35 years, in one form or another. I have done everything you can imagine in a data center from design, to managing, commissioning and decommissioning them, to teaching about them, all over the globe. I’ve seen some of the coolest data centers out there. Because I’ve worked in networking, programming, facilities, cabling, IT, etc., my unique vantage point is that I really understand how the whole ecosystem works together, and the cause and impact of IT to facilities and vice versa.

CAPRE: So what is the takeaway here?

Goetz: Data centers have to be treated like ecosystems. Silos are one of the biggest things that hurt us as an industry. From a compute standpoint, many just expect power, networking and the like to be available, but don’t always truly examine their impact on facilities services. The “everything needs to be redundant” era is dwindling. I think we’re about to hit a new point of accountability in compute.

CAPRE: Tell us more about that.

Goetz: The companies that foster those silos, are going to have a harder time than the companies that are taking an active approach in working with it as an entire ecosystem. Some companies do a great job of this, but some just let a colo manage the power and cooling with no accountability for stranded capacity and management of power costs. IT self-heals, today, in many cases, but it’s rare to actually see that reflected in facilities design, for instance. If an application is spread over multiple sites with failover, so all of those sites really need redundant everything?

CAPRE: Tell us about your new podcast series, “Data Center and Tech Careers for Trades, Women, Vets.”

Goetz: The podcast series is very much an outreach project. For the average child, by the time they’re seven, they have formulated their frame of thought for what they’ll do when they grow up. This podcast series is meant to reach out to junior high, high school, college students who want to explore careers in tech and the data center industry and figure out their options. It’s a good way to not only expose these students to this information but also to change the way that companies and recruiters are thinking about these roles.

I picked a podcast because anyone can listen anywhere in the globe – and they need to learn that you don’t need to code, you don’t need to be good at math, you don’t have to be an engineer to have a great career in this industry. We also cover diversity and inclusion with some amazing experts. We have geared it towards women, vets and trades in the industry, but of course anyone is welcome to listen, and HR departments are also encouraged to listen.

CAPRE: What do hiring managers need to keep in mind at this critical juncture?

Goetz: Not every role needs a four-year degree. Only 34% of men and 35% of women have 4-year degrees in the last study I read. And let’s face it, without trades, none of us would have jobs as nothing would get built. The right curriculum is simply not out there in many parts of the world, so we have to focus on skills based hiring and growing talent within. Several years of experience can be better than the same number of academic years, unless of course the job needs a degree for licensing. Certifications are great to launch a career, change careers,  and make up where traditional education has not kept up with quick paced industry.

CAPRE: What about on the diversity and inclusion side?

Goetz: We are targeting diversity and inclusion, which are two very different things. You can’t hire diverse folks and expect them to fit the “standard” model as that removes the benefits of diversity. It’s a culture change! Studies have shown that women will only respond to a job ad if they feel they’re 100% qualified whereas men are likely to reply if they feel they’re 60% qualified. And the attrition rate for women, last statistic I read was 67%. That’s deplorable.  We are really working to open up minds and are featuring some amazing people in and around the industry.

CAPRE: We’re looking forward to seeing you on the 9:30 am – 10:15 am panel “Views from the Top: Threats, Opportunities, Challenges and Success Factors for 2020” in Dulles on January 30. What topics or themes will be top of mind for the folks attending our 2020 Digital Infrastructure Outlook?

Carrie Goetz, Principal/CTO, StrategITcom

Goetz: The talent shortage is going to remain a big focus. A third of the workforce in the data center world is likely to retire in the next five years. There’s a huge talent draw to the great data center cities in Northern Virginia and Dallas and San Jose, etc., but as the Edge gets more important, I think that a lot of the Tier e and Tier 4 cities that have been underserved will see a renewed need for data centers. I also think this is the year for software defined power and greater accountability for stranded power. SDP really bridges the gap between IT and facilities and opens up a wealth of options for the fully software defined data center.  Further, it provides some great controls and monitoring for Edge compute.

CAPRE: Tell us more about the Edge – where do you see it heading next and why?

Goetz: People used to say you can’t build a data center here or there because of tornadoes or hurricanes or whatever, but we have modular data centers designed to withstand all of that. And I think those nontraditional, non-NFL cities are going to see some more activity. It’ll be more of a healthy spread rather than the city concentration we’re seeing now. I also think we’re going to see more and more data center certifications and distance-based learning to address this talent gap. We’ll see greater accountability for power consumption.

CAPRE: Why is that?

Goetz: There’s a ridiculous amount of stranded power out there. Colos aren’t always held accountable as they pass the costs through, but I think companies are going to step up to be better environmental stewards and will start to hold colocation companies more accountable for that power they’re consuming and stranded power on site.

I also think we’ll see more alternative energy – not just solar, but also wind and fuel cells. There’s definitely other options for power out there. In some cases, we’ll see more people moving away from generators and reserve power in lieu of shifting a workload to a different grid. Peak shaving and node capping are terms you will hear much more of with Software-defined power and the capabilities there as it ties the facilities and the load together, is going to be absolutely huge and paramount in allocating power.

CAPRE: What else do you anticipate?

Goetz: I also believe we are going to see a lot more remote AI on the IT side for management the vast number of servers out there without necessarily needing human intervention for every little thing.  The tools are out there for data centers to be largely self-healing.  This frees up talent for more important things like testing, strategic planning and of course hardware changes and the other tasks that can’t self-heal.  There are some really great technologies out there that go way beyond DCIM.  I’m going to call 2020 the year of data center intelligence.

CAPRE: Got it, thanks again Carrie. We’ll see you in Dulles January 30!

Carrie Goetz, Principal/CTO, StrategITcom, personifies over 35 years of global experience designing, running and auditing, data centers, IT departments, and working with intelligent building infrastructures. Fostering women in Tech, StrategITcom is founded with a charter to assure that 50% of employees are women and 50% of all partner referrals will go to women owned enterprises of all ethnicities. She is an international keynote speaker and is published in 69 countries in over 250 publications. She holds an honorary doctorate in Mission Critical Operations, RCDD/NTS, CNID, CDCP, CSM-Agile, AWS CCP and is a 2nd degree Master Infrastructure Mason with over 40 certifications throughout her career. She is on the WIMCO national education committee and a long-time participant in 7×24 Exchange, AFCOM and Data Center Institute board of advisors, Mission Critical Advisory Board, Cnet Technical Curriculum Advisory Board, Vice Chairwoman and Liaison for STEM for AATCU, a member of WIMCO, BICSI and champions women in STEM.