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How Sustainability and Diversity
Prove Foundational to the
Evolving Modern Data Center
A discussion on how data center challenges and advancements will hinge around the next
generation of diverse talent supporting data centers and how sustainability will advance as a top
design requirement.
Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes. Download the transcript. Sponsor: Vertiv.
Dana Gardner: Hello, and welcome to the next edition of the BriefingsDirect podcast
series. I’m Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, your host and
moderator for this ongoing discussion on the latest insights into data center strategies.
International Data Center Day, this spring in 2020, provides an opportunity to both look
at where things have been in the evolution of the modern data center -- and more
importantly -- where they are going.
And those trends involve a lot more than just technology. Data center challenges, and
advancements alike, will hinge around the next generation of talent supporting those
data centers and how diversity and equal opportunity best support that.
We also forecast that sustainability improvements -- rather than just optimizing the
speeds and feeds -- will help determine the true long-term efficiency of IT facilities and
systems.
Stay with us now as we observe International Data Center Day with a look at how to
make the data centers of the future the best operated and the greenest ever. To learn
how, please join me now in welcoming our panel.
We are here with Jaime Leverton, Senior Vice President
and Chief Commercial Officer at eStruxture Data Centers
in Montreal. Welcome, Jaime.
Jaime Leverton: Thank you so much for having me. It's
great to be here.
Gardner: We are also here with Angie McMillin, Vice
President and General Manager of IT Systems at
VertivTM. Welcome, Angie.
Angie McMillin: Thank you. Hi, Dana, glad to be here.
Leverton
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Gardner: And we are also joined by Erin Dowd, Vice President of Global Human
Resources at Vertiv. Welcome, Erin.
Erin Dowd: Thank you, very much. I am very proud to be a part of it.
Gardner: Erin, why -- based on where we have come from -- is there now a need to
think differently about the next generation of data center talent?
Dowd: What's important to us is that we have a diverse
population of employees. We think about diversity from
the perspective traditionally around ethnicity and gender.
But when we consider diversity, we think about diversity
of thought, diversity of behavior, and diverse
backgrounds.
That all makes us a much stronger company; a much
stronger industry. It's representative of our customer
base, frankly, and it's representative of the globe. We are
ensuring that we have people working within our
company from around the world and contributing all of
those diverse thoughts and perspectives that make us a
much stronger company and much stronger industry.
Gardner: We have often seen that creative and innovative thought comes when you
have a group of individuals that come from a variety of backgrounds, and so it's often a
big benefit. Why has it been slow-going? What's been holding back the diversity of the
support talent for data centers?
Diversity defines future of data center
Dowd: It's a competitive environment, so it's
a struggle to find diverse candidates. It goes
beyond our tech type of roles and into sales
and marketing. We look at our talent early in
their careers, and we are working on growing
talent, in terms of nurturing them, helping
them to develop, and helping them to grow into leadership roles. It takes a proactive
approach, and it’s more than just letting the talent pool evolve naturally. It is about taking
proactive and definitive actions around attracting people and growing people.
Gardner: I don’t think I am going out on a limb by observing that over the past 30 years,
it's been a fairly male-dominated category of worker. Tell us why women in science,
technology, engineering, and math, or the so-called STEM occupations, are going to be
a big part of making that diversity a strength.
Dowd
[Diversity] is about taking
proactive and definitive
actions around attracting
people and growing people.
Page 3 of 14
Dowd: That is a huge pipeline for us as we benefit from all the initiatives to increase
STEM education for women and men. The results help expand the pool, frankly, and it
allows candidates across the board, that are interested at an early age, to best prepare
for this type of industry. We know historically that girls have been less likely to pursue
STEM types of interest at early ages.
So ensuring that we have people across the continuum, that we have women in these
roles, to model and mentor -- that's really important in expanding the pool. There are a
lot of things that we can be doing around STEM, and we are looking at all those
opportunities.
Gardner: Statistically there are more women in universities than men, so that should
translate into a larger share in the IT business. We will be talking about that more.
But we would also like to focus on International Data Center Day issues around
sustainability. Jaime, why is sustainability the gift that keeps giving when it comes to
improving our modern data centers?
Leverton: International Data Center Day is
about the next generation of data center
professionals. And we know that for the next
generation, they are committed to preserving
the environment, which is good news for all of
us as citizens. And as one of the world's
biggest consumers of energy, I believe the
data center industry has a fundamental duty to
elevate its environmental stewardship with energy efficient infrastructure and renewable
power resources. I think the conversation really does go well together with diversity.
Gardner: Alright, let's dive in a little bit more to the issues around talent and finding the
best future pool. First, Erin please tell us about your role at Vertiv.
Dowd: I am the Global Business HR Partner at Vertiv. So my focus is to help us design,
build, and deliver the right people strategy for our teams that have a global presence.
We focus on having super-engaged and productive people in the right places with the
right skills, and in developing career opportunities across the continuum -- from early
level to senior level of contributors.
Gardner: We have heard a lot about the skills shortage in IT in general terms, but in
your experience at Vertiv, what are your observations about the skills shortage? What
challenges do you face?
Dowd: We have challenges in terms of a shortage of diverse candidates across the
board. This is present in all positions. Increasing the diversity of candidates that we can
attract and grow will help us address the shortage first-hand.
The data center industry has
a fundamental duty to
elevate its environmental
stewardship with energy
efficient infrastructure and
renewable power resources.
Page 4 of 14
Gardner: And in addition to doing this on a purely pragmatic basis, there are other larger
benefits. Tell us why diversity is so important to Vertiv over the long term?
Dowd: Diversity is the right thing to do. Just hands
down, it has business benefits, and it has cultural
benefits. As I mentioned earlier, it reflects not only
on our global presence but also on our customer
base. And research shows that companies that
have more diverse workforces outperform and out-
innovate those that don’t.
For example, companies in the top quartile of the workforce on diversity are 33 percent
more likely to financially outperform their less diverse counterparts, according to a 2018
study from McKinsey. We have been embracing diversity, which aligns with our core
values. It’s the right competitive strategy. It's going to allow us to compete in the
marketplace and relate to our customers best.
Gardner: Is Vertiv an outlier in this? Or is this the way the whole industry is going?
Dive into the highly competitive talent pool
Dowd: This is the way whole industry is going. I come from a line of IT companies prior
to my tenure with Vertiv. Even the biggest, the most established companies are still
wrestling with the competitiveness affiliated with the tracking of candidates that have
diversity of thought, diverse backgrounds, diverse behaviors, and diversity on ethnicity
and gender as well.
The trend is toward engineering and services, and everywhere we are experiencing
turnover because it's so competitive. It’s a very competitive environment. We are
competing with brother and sister companies for the same types of talent.
As I mentioned previously, if we attract people who are diverse in terms of thought,
ethnicity, and gender we can expand our candidate pool and enhance our
competitiveness. When our talent acquisition team looks at talent, they are expanding
and enhancing diversity in our university relations and in our recruiting efforts. They are
targeting diverse candidates as we hire interns and then folks that are later in their
careers as well.
Gardner: We have been looking at this through the demand side, but on the supply-
side, what are the incentives? Why should people from a variety of backgrounds
consider and pursue these IT careers? What are the benefits to them?
Dowd: The career opportunities are amazing. This is a field that’s growing and that is
not going to go away. We depend on IT infrastructure and data centers across our world,
and we're doing that more and more over time. There's opportunity in the workplace and
Research shows that
companies that have more
diverse workforces
outperform and out-
innovate those that don’t.
Page 5 of 14
there are a lot of things that we are specifically doing at Vertiv to keep people engaged
and excited. We think a lot about attracting talent.
But there is another piece, which is about retaining talent. Some of the things we are
doing at Vertiv are specifically launching programs aligned with diversity.
So recently, and Angie has been involved in this, we have a women at Vertiv resource
group called Women at Vertiv Excel (WAVE). And that group is nurturing women,
encouraging more women to pursue leadership positions within Vertiv. Really it looks at
diversity in leadership positions, but it also provides important training that women can
apply in their current positions.
Together we are building one Vertiv culture,
which is a really important framework for
our company. We are creating solutions and
resources that make us more competitive
and reflect the global market. We find that
diversity breeds new and different ideas,
more innovation, and a deeper
understanding of our customers, partners,
employees, and our stakeholders all around the globe. We are a global company, so this
is very important to us. It's going to make us more successful as we grow into the future.
Another thing that we are doing is creating end-to-end management of Vertiv programs.
This is new. We continue to improve this. It integrates behavioral skills and training
designed to look at the work that we do through the eyes of others. We utilize
experiences and talent effectively to grow stronger and stronger teams. Part of this is
about recruiting and hiring. It has an emphasis on finding potential employees who
possess a diverse experience of thought and perspectives. And diversity of thought
comes from field experiences, from different backgrounds, and all of this contributes to
our values as an employee in our organization.
We also are launching the Vertiv Operating System. Now this is being created,
launched, and built with an emphasis on better understanding of our differences, in
bridging gaps where there are differences, and in ways that bring out the best in
everybody. It's designed to encourage thought leadership, and to help all of us work
through change management together.
Finally, another program that we've been implementing across the globe is called
Intrinsic. And Intrinsic supplies a foundational assessment designed to improve our
understanding of ourselves and also of our colleagues. It's a formal experiential program
that's going to help us all learn more about ourselves, what makes our individual values
and styles unique, but then also it allows us to think about the people that we are
working with. We can learn more about our colleagues, potentially our customers, and it
allows us to grow in terms of our team dynamics and the techniques that we are using to
manage conflict, stress, and change.
Diversity breeds new and
different ideas, more innovation,
and a deeper understanding of
our customers, partners,
employees, and our stakeholders
all around the globe.
Page 6 of 14
Collectively, as we look at the full continuum of how we behave at Vertiv in the future we
are building for ourselves, all of these efforts work together toward changing the way we
think as individuals, how we behave in groups, and ultimately evolving our organizational
culture to be more diverse, more inclusive, and more innovative.
Gardner: Jaime at eStruxture, when we look at sustainability, it aligns quite well with
these issues around talent and diversity because all the polling shows that the younger
generation is much more focused on energy efficiency and consciousness around their
impact on the natural world -- so sustainability. Tell us why the need for sustainability is
key and aligns so well with talent and retaining the best people to work for your
organization.
Sustainability inspires next generation
Leverton: What we know to be true about the next generation is when they look to
choose a career path, or take on an assignment, they want to make sure that it aligns
with their values. They want to do work that they believe in. So, our industry offers them
that opportunity to be value-aligned and to make an impact where it counts.
As you can see all around us, people are working
and learning remotely now more than ever, and
data centers are what make all of that possible.
They are crucial to our society and to our everyday
lives. The data center industry is only going to
continue to grow, and with our dependence on
energy we have to have a focus on sustainability.
It represents a substantial opportunity to make a difference. It's a fast-paced
environment where we truly believe there is a career path for the next generation that
will matter to them.
Gardner: Jaime, tell us about eStruxture Data Centers and your role there.
Leverton: eStruxture is relatively new data center company. It was established just over
three years ago and we have grown rapidly from our original acquisition of our first data
center in Montreal. We now have three data centers in Montreal, two in Vancouver, and
one in Calgary. We are a Canadian pure-play -- Canadian-owned, -operated, and -
financed. We really believe in the Canadian landscape, the Canadian story, and we are
going to continue to focus on growth in this nation.
Gardner: When it comes to efficiency and sustainability, we often look at power usage
effectiveness (PUE). Where are we in terms of getting to complete sustainability? Is it
that so farfetched?
Leverton: I don’t think it is. Huge strides have been made in reducing PUE, especially
by us in our most recent construction, which has a PUE load of sub 1.2. Organizations in
People are working and
learning remotely now
more than ever, and data
centers are what make all
of that possible.
Page 7 of 14
our industry continue to innovate every day, trying to get as close to that 1.0 as humanly
possible.
We are very lucky that we partner with Vertiv. Vertiv solutions are key in driving our
efficiency in our data centers, and we know that progress can be made continually by
addressing the IP load deficiency and that is a savings that is incremental to PUE as
well. PUE is specifically about the ratio of IP power usage and the power usage of the
equipment that supports it. But we look at our data center and our business holistically to
drive sustainability even outside of what the PUE covers.
Gardner: It sounds like sustainability is essentially your middle name. Tell me more
about that. How did you focus the construction and placement of your data centers to be
focused so much on sustainability?
Leverton: All of our facilities have been designed with a focus on sustainability. When
we have purchased facilities, we have immediately gone to upgrade them and make
them more efficient. We take advantage of free cooling wherever possible. As I
mentioned, three of our data centers are in Montreal, so we get to take advantage of
about eight months of the year of free cooling where the majority of our data centers are
using 99.5 percent hydro-power energy, which is the cleanest possible energy that we
can use.
We virtualize our environments as much
as possible. We carefully select eco-
responsible technologies and suppliers,
and we are committed to continuing to
increase our power usage effectiveness
without ever sacrificing the performance,
scalability, or uptime of our data centers,
of course.
Gardner: And more specifically, when you look at that holistic approach to sustainability,
how does working with a supplier like Vertiv augment and support that? How does that
become a tag-team when it comes to the power source and the underlying
infrastructure?
Leverton: Vertiv has just been such a great partner. They were there with us from the
very beginning. We work together as a team, trying to make sure that we're designing
the best possible environment for our customers and for our community. One of our
favorite solutions from Vertiv is around their thermal management, which is a water-free
solution.
That is absolutely ideal in keeping with our commitment to operate as sustainably as
possible. In addition to being water-free, it's 75 percent more efficient because it has
advanced controls and economization. Being able to partner with Vertiv and build their
solutions into our design right from the beginning has made a huge, huge impact.
We are committed to continuing to
increase our power usage
effectiveness without ever sacrificing
the performance, scalability, or
uptime of our data centers.
Page 8 of 14
Gardner: And, like I mentioned, sustainability is the gift that keeps giving. This is not just
a nice to have. This is a bottom-line benefit. Tell us about the costs and how that
reinforces sustainability initiatives.
Leverton: Yes, while there is an
occasional higher cost in the short term,
we firmly believe that the long-term total
cost of ownership is lower -- and the
benefits far outweigh any initial
incremental costs.
Obviously, it's about our values. It's critical that we do the right thing for the environment,
for the community, for our staff, and for our customers. But, as I say, over the long-term,
we believe the total cost is less. So far and above, sustainability is the right thing to do.
Gardner: Jaime, when it comes to that sustainability formula, what really works? It's not
just benefiting the organization that's supplying, it’s also benefiting the consumer. Tell us
how sustainability is also a big plus when it comes to those people receiving the fruits of
what the data centers produce.
Leverton: Sustainability is huge for our customers, and it’s increasingly a key
component of their decision-making criteria. In fact, many hyperscale cloud providers
and corporations -- large corporate enterprises -- have declared very ambitious
environmental responsibility objectives and are shifting to green energy.
Microsoft, as an example, is targeting over 70 percent renewable energy for its data
centers by 2023. Amazon reached a 50 percent renewable energy target in 2018 and is
now aiming for 100 percent.
Women, children and STEM step IT up
Gardner: Let's look at the sustainability issue again through the lens of talent and the
people who are going to be supporting these great initiatives. Angie, when it comes to
bringing more women into the STEM professions, how does the IT industry present itself
as an attractive career path, say for someone just graduating from high school?
McMillin: When I look at children today, they're growing
up with IT as part of their lives. That's a huge advantage
for them. They see firsthand the value and impact it has
on everything they do. I look at my nieces and nephews,
and even grandkids, and they can flip through phones,
tablets, they are using XBoxes, you name it, all faster
than adults.
They're the next generation of IT. And now, with the
COVID-19 situation, children are learning how to do
McMillin
[With sustainability] the long-term
total cost of ownership is lower – and
the benefits far outweigh any initial
incremental costs.
Page 9 of 14
schooling collaboratively -- but also remotely. I believe we can engage children early
with the devices they already know and use. And with the tools that they're now learning
for schoolwork, those are a bridge to learning about what makes that work. It’s the data
center industry. All of our data centers can be a part of that as they complete their
schooling and go into higher education. They will remember this experience that we're all
living through right now forever -- and so why not build upon that?
Gardner: Jaime, does that align with your personal experience in terms of technology
being part of the very fabric of life?
Leverton: Oh, absolutely. I'm really proud of what I've seen happening in Canada. I
have two young daughters and they have been able to take part in STEM camps, coding
clubs, and technology is part of their regular curriculum in elementary school. The best
thing we can do for our children is to teach them about technology, teach them how to
be responsible with tech, and to keep them engaged with it so that over time they can be
comfortable looking toward STEM careers later on.
Gardner: Angie, to get people focused on being part of the next generation of data
centers, are there certain degrees, paths, or educational strategies that they should be
pursuing?
All education paths can lead to STEM careers
McMillin: Yes. It's a really interesting time in education. There are countless degrees
specifically geared toward the IT industry. So those are good bets, but specifically in
networking and computers, there's coding, there is cyber security, which is becoming
even more important, and the list goes on.
We currently see a very large skill set gap specifically around the science and
technology functions. So these offer huge opportunities for a young person’s future. But I
also want to highlight that the industry still needs the skill sets, the traditional engineering
skills, such as power management, thermal management, services and equally
important are the trade skills in this industry. There's a current gap in the workforce and
the training for that may be different, but it still has a really vital role to play.
And then finally, we'd
be remiss if we didn't
recognize the fact that
there are support
functions, finance, HR,
and marketing. People
often think that you must only be in the science or engineering part of the business to
work in a particular given market, and that really isn't true. We need skill sets across a
broad range to really help make us successful.
People often think that you must only be in the
science or engineering part of the business to work
in a particular given market, and that really isn’t true.
Page 10 of 14
Leverton: I am an IT leader and have been in this business for 20 years, and my
undergraduate degrees are in political science and psychology. So I really think that it's
all about how you think, and the other skills that you can bring to bear. More and more,
we see emotional intelligence (EQ) and communication skills as the difference-maker to
somebody's career success or career trajectory. We just need to make sure that people
aren't afraid of coming out of more generalized degrees.
Gardner: We have heard a lot about the T structure, where we need to have the vertical
technology background but also we want those with cultural leadership, liberal arts, and
collaboration skills.
Angie, you are involved with mentoring young women specifically. What's your take on
the potential? What do you see now as the diversity is welling up and the available pool
of talent is shifting?
McMillin: I am, and I absolutely love it. One of the things I do is support a women's
engineering summer camp probably much like Jaime's daughters attend, and other
events around my alma mater, with the University of Dayton. I support mentoring interns
and other early career individuals, be they male or female. There is just so much
potential in young people. They are absolutely eager to learn and play their part. They
want to have relevance in the growing data center market, and the IT and sustainability
that we talked about earlier. It's really fun and enjoyable to help them along that journey.
I get asked for advice, and there are
two key themes that I repeat. One is
that success doesn’t happen
overnight. So enjoy those small steps
on the journey that we take to much
greater things, and the important part
of that, is really just keep taking the steps, learn as much as you can, and don’t give up.
The second thing is to keep an open mind in your career, being willing to try new things
and opportunities and sometimes doors are going to open that you didn’t even imagine,
which is absolutely okay.
As a prime example, I started my education in the aerospace industry. When that
industry was hurting, I switched to mechanical. There is a broader range of that field of
study, and I spent a large part of my career in automotive. I then moved to consumer
and now I am in data center and IT. I am essentially a space geek and car junkie
engineer with experience in engineering, strategy, sales, portfolio transformation, and
operations. And now I am a general manager for an IT management portfolio.
If I hadn't been open to new opportunities and doors along my career path, I wouldn’t be
here today. So it's an example for the younger generation. There are broad possibilities.
You don’t have to have it all figured out now, but keep taking those steps and keep trying
and keep learning -- and the world awaits you, essentially.
Enjoy those small steps on the journey
that we take to much greater things …
just keep taking the steps, learn as
much as you can, and don’t give up.
Page 11 of 14
Gardner: Angie what sort of challenges have you faced over the years in your career?
And how is that changing?
Women rise, yet challenges continue
McMillin: It’s a great question. My experience at Vertiv has been wonderful with a
support structure of diversity for women and leadership. We talked about the new WAVE
program that Erin mentioned earlier. You can feel that across your organization. It starts
at the top. I also had the benefit, as many of us I think had on this podcast, of having
good sponsors along the way in our career journeys to help us get to where we are.
But that doesn’t mean we haven’t faced challenges throughout our careers. And there
are challenges that still arise for many in the industry. In all the industries I have worked,
which have all been male-dominated industries, there is this necessity to have to prove
yourself as a woman -- like 10 times over -- for your right to be at the table with a voice
regardless of the credentials you have coming in. It gets exhausting, and it's not
consistent with male counterparts. It’s a “show me first” and then “I might believe,” it's
also BS. That’s something that a lot of women in this industry, as well as in other
industries, continue to have to surpass.
The other common challenge is that you
need to over-prove yourself, so that
people know that the position was
earned. I always want people to know I
got my position because I earned it, and
I have something to offer not because of
a diversity quota. And that’s a lot better today than it's been in years passed. But I can
tell you, I can still hear those words, of accusations made of female colleagues that I
knew throughout my career. When one female gets elevated in a position and fails, it
makes it a lot harder for other females to get the chance of an opportunity or promotion.
Now, again, it's getting better. But to give you a real-world example, if you think about
the number of industries where there are women CEOs. If they don't succeed, boards
get very nervous about putting another woman in a CEO position. If a male CEO doesn't
succeed, he is often just not the right fit. So we still have a long way to go.
Gardner: Jaime at eStruxture, what's been your experience as a woman in the
technology field?
Leverton: Well, eStruxture has been an incredible experience for me. We have diversity
throughout the organization. Actually we are almost at 50 percent of our population
identifying as non-white heterosexual male, which is quite different from what I've
experienced over the rest of my career in technology. From a female perspective, our
senior leadership team is 35 percent women; our director population is almost 50
percent women.
I always want people to know I got
my position because I earned it, and
I have something to offer not
because of a diversity quota.
Page 12 of 14
So it's been a real breath of fresh air for me. In fact, I would say it really speaks to the
values of our founder when he started this company three years ago and did it with the
intention of having a diverse organization. Not only does it better mirror our customers
but it absolutely reflects the values of our organization, the culture we wanted to create,
and ultimately to drive better returns.
Gardner: Angie, why is the data center industry a particularly attractive career choice
right now? What will the future look like in say five years? Why should people be thinking
about this as a no-brainer when it comes to their futures?
Wanted: Skilled data center professionals
McMillin: We are in a fascinating time for data center trends. The future is very, very
strong. We know now -- and the kids of today certainly know -- that data isn't going
away. It's part of our everyday lives and it's only going to expand -- it's going to get faster
with more compute power and capability. Let’s face it, nobody has patience for slow
anymore. There are trends in artificial intelligence (AI), 5G, and others that haven't even
been thought of yet that are going to offer enormous potential for careers for those
looking to get into the IT space.
And when we think about that new trend -- with the increase of working or schooling
remotely as many of us are doing currently -- that may permanently alter how people
work and learn going forward. There will be a need for different tools, capabilities, and
data management. And how this all remains secure and efficient is also very important.
Likewise, more data centers will need to operate independently and be managed
remotely. They will need to be more efficient. Sustainability is going to remain very
prevalent, especially edge-of-the-network data centers and enabling the connectivity and
productivity wherever they are.
Gardner: Now that we are observing International Data Center Day 2020, where do you
see this state of the data center in just the next few years? Angie, what's going to be
changing that makes this even more important to almost every aspect of our lives and
businesses?
McMillin: We know now the data center
as an ecosystem that is changing
dramatically. The hybrid model is a
product that's enabling a diversification
of data workloads where customers get
the best of all options available: cloud,
data center, and edge, as our regional global survey of data center professionals are
experiencing phenomenal growth. And we also see a lot more remote management to
operate and maintain these disparate locations securely.
The hybrid model is a product that’s
enabling a diversification of data
workloads where customers get the
best of all options available.
Page 13 of 14
We need more people with all the skill sets capable of supporting these advancements
on the horizon like 5G, the industrial internet of things (IIoT), and AI.
Gardner: Erin, where do you see the trends of technology and human resources going
that will together shape the future of the data center?
Dowd: I will piggyback on the technology trends that Angie just referenced and say the
future requires more skilled professionals. It will be more competitive in the industry to
hire those professionals, and so it's really a great situation for candidates.
It makes it important for companies like Vertiv to continue creating environments that
favor diversity. Diversity should manifest in many different ways and in an environment
where we welcome and nurture a broad variety of people. That's the direction of the
future, and, naturally, the secret for success.
Gardner: I’m afraid we’ll have to leave it there. We have been exploring how future data
center advancements will hinge around the next generation of talent and sustainability.
And we have observed at International Data Center Day 2020 that we are seeing new
ways to make the data center of the future the best operated and the greenest ever.
So please join me in thanking our guests, Jaime Leverton, Senior Vice President and
Chief Commercial Officer at eStruxture Data Centers. Thank you so much, Jaime.
Leverton: Thank you again for having me. It was a lot of fun.
Gardner: And also thank you to Angie McMillin, Vice President and General Manager of
IT Systems at Vertiv. Thank you, Angie.
McMillin: Thank you. I enjoyed this today.
Gardner: And lastly, thank you to Erin Dowd, Vice President of Global Human
Resources at Vertiv. Thank you so much.
Dowd: Thank you. This is a very important topic to all of us.
Gardner: And a big thank you to our audience as well for joining this sponsored
BriefingsDirect data center strategies panel. I’m Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at
Interarbor Solutions, your host for this ongoing series of Vertiv-sponsored discussions.
Thanks again for listening. Please pass this along to your community, and do come back
next time.
Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes. Download the transcript. Sponsor: Vertiv.
A discussion on how data center challenges and advancements alike will hinge around the next
generation of diverse talent supporting data centers and how sustainability will advance as a top
design requirement. Copyright Interarbor Solutions, LLC, 2005-2020. All rights reserved.
Page 14 of 14
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• Automation and connectivity will enable the modern data center to extend to many more
remote locations
• How smart IT infrastructure has evolved into the era of data centers-as-a-service
• The next line of defense—How new security leverages virtualization to counter
sophisticated threats
• Expert Panel Explores the New Reality for Cloud Security and Trusted Mobile Apps
Delivery
• How IT innovators turn digital disruption into a business productivity force multiplier
• Cerner’s lifesaving sepsis control solution shows the potential of bringing more AI-
enabled IoT to the healthcare edge
• How containers are the new basic currency for pay as you go hybrid IT
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How Sustainability and Diversity Prove Foundational to the Evolving Modern Data Center

  • 1. Page 1 of 14 How Sustainability and Diversity Prove Foundational to the Evolving Modern Data Center A discussion on how data center challenges and advancements will hinge around the next generation of diverse talent supporting data centers and how sustainability will advance as a top design requirement. Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes. Download the transcript. Sponsor: Vertiv. Dana Gardner: Hello, and welcome to the next edition of the BriefingsDirect podcast series. I’m Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, your host and moderator for this ongoing discussion on the latest insights into data center strategies. International Data Center Day, this spring in 2020, provides an opportunity to both look at where things have been in the evolution of the modern data center -- and more importantly -- where they are going. And those trends involve a lot more than just technology. Data center challenges, and advancements alike, will hinge around the next generation of talent supporting those data centers and how diversity and equal opportunity best support that. We also forecast that sustainability improvements -- rather than just optimizing the speeds and feeds -- will help determine the true long-term efficiency of IT facilities and systems. Stay with us now as we observe International Data Center Day with a look at how to make the data centers of the future the best operated and the greenest ever. To learn how, please join me now in welcoming our panel. We are here with Jaime Leverton, Senior Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer at eStruxture Data Centers in Montreal. Welcome, Jaime. Jaime Leverton: Thank you so much for having me. It's great to be here. Gardner: We are also here with Angie McMillin, Vice President and General Manager of IT Systems at VertivTM. Welcome, Angie. Angie McMillin: Thank you. Hi, Dana, glad to be here. Leverton
  • 2. Page 2 of 14 Gardner: And we are also joined by Erin Dowd, Vice President of Global Human Resources at Vertiv. Welcome, Erin. Erin Dowd: Thank you, very much. I am very proud to be a part of it. Gardner: Erin, why -- based on where we have come from -- is there now a need to think differently about the next generation of data center talent? Dowd: What's important to us is that we have a diverse population of employees. We think about diversity from the perspective traditionally around ethnicity and gender. But when we consider diversity, we think about diversity of thought, diversity of behavior, and diverse backgrounds. That all makes us a much stronger company; a much stronger industry. It's representative of our customer base, frankly, and it's representative of the globe. We are ensuring that we have people working within our company from around the world and contributing all of those diverse thoughts and perspectives that make us a much stronger company and much stronger industry. Gardner: We have often seen that creative and innovative thought comes when you have a group of individuals that come from a variety of backgrounds, and so it's often a big benefit. Why has it been slow-going? What's been holding back the diversity of the support talent for data centers? Diversity defines future of data center Dowd: It's a competitive environment, so it's a struggle to find diverse candidates. It goes beyond our tech type of roles and into sales and marketing. We look at our talent early in their careers, and we are working on growing talent, in terms of nurturing them, helping them to develop, and helping them to grow into leadership roles. It takes a proactive approach, and it’s more than just letting the talent pool evolve naturally. It is about taking proactive and definitive actions around attracting people and growing people. Gardner: I don’t think I am going out on a limb by observing that over the past 30 years, it's been a fairly male-dominated category of worker. Tell us why women in science, technology, engineering, and math, or the so-called STEM occupations, are going to be a big part of making that diversity a strength. Dowd [Diversity] is about taking proactive and definitive actions around attracting people and growing people.
  • 3. Page 3 of 14 Dowd: That is a huge pipeline for us as we benefit from all the initiatives to increase STEM education for women and men. The results help expand the pool, frankly, and it allows candidates across the board, that are interested at an early age, to best prepare for this type of industry. We know historically that girls have been less likely to pursue STEM types of interest at early ages. So ensuring that we have people across the continuum, that we have women in these roles, to model and mentor -- that's really important in expanding the pool. There are a lot of things that we can be doing around STEM, and we are looking at all those opportunities. Gardner: Statistically there are more women in universities than men, so that should translate into a larger share in the IT business. We will be talking about that more. But we would also like to focus on International Data Center Day issues around sustainability. Jaime, why is sustainability the gift that keeps giving when it comes to improving our modern data centers? Leverton: International Data Center Day is about the next generation of data center professionals. And we know that for the next generation, they are committed to preserving the environment, which is good news for all of us as citizens. And as one of the world's biggest consumers of energy, I believe the data center industry has a fundamental duty to elevate its environmental stewardship with energy efficient infrastructure and renewable power resources. I think the conversation really does go well together with diversity. Gardner: Alright, let's dive in a little bit more to the issues around talent and finding the best future pool. First, Erin please tell us about your role at Vertiv. Dowd: I am the Global Business HR Partner at Vertiv. So my focus is to help us design, build, and deliver the right people strategy for our teams that have a global presence. We focus on having super-engaged and productive people in the right places with the right skills, and in developing career opportunities across the continuum -- from early level to senior level of contributors. Gardner: We have heard a lot about the skills shortage in IT in general terms, but in your experience at Vertiv, what are your observations about the skills shortage? What challenges do you face? Dowd: We have challenges in terms of a shortage of diverse candidates across the board. This is present in all positions. Increasing the diversity of candidates that we can attract and grow will help us address the shortage first-hand. The data center industry has a fundamental duty to elevate its environmental stewardship with energy efficient infrastructure and renewable power resources.
  • 4. Page 4 of 14 Gardner: And in addition to doing this on a purely pragmatic basis, there are other larger benefits. Tell us why diversity is so important to Vertiv over the long term? Dowd: Diversity is the right thing to do. Just hands down, it has business benefits, and it has cultural benefits. As I mentioned earlier, it reflects not only on our global presence but also on our customer base. And research shows that companies that have more diverse workforces outperform and out- innovate those that don’t. For example, companies in the top quartile of the workforce on diversity are 33 percent more likely to financially outperform their less diverse counterparts, according to a 2018 study from McKinsey. We have been embracing diversity, which aligns with our core values. It’s the right competitive strategy. It's going to allow us to compete in the marketplace and relate to our customers best. Gardner: Is Vertiv an outlier in this? Or is this the way the whole industry is going? Dive into the highly competitive talent pool Dowd: This is the way whole industry is going. I come from a line of IT companies prior to my tenure with Vertiv. Even the biggest, the most established companies are still wrestling with the competitiveness affiliated with the tracking of candidates that have diversity of thought, diverse backgrounds, diverse behaviors, and diversity on ethnicity and gender as well. The trend is toward engineering and services, and everywhere we are experiencing turnover because it's so competitive. It’s a very competitive environment. We are competing with brother and sister companies for the same types of talent. As I mentioned previously, if we attract people who are diverse in terms of thought, ethnicity, and gender we can expand our candidate pool and enhance our competitiveness. When our talent acquisition team looks at talent, they are expanding and enhancing diversity in our university relations and in our recruiting efforts. They are targeting diverse candidates as we hire interns and then folks that are later in their careers as well. Gardner: We have been looking at this through the demand side, but on the supply- side, what are the incentives? Why should people from a variety of backgrounds consider and pursue these IT careers? What are the benefits to them? Dowd: The career opportunities are amazing. This is a field that’s growing and that is not going to go away. We depend on IT infrastructure and data centers across our world, and we're doing that more and more over time. There's opportunity in the workplace and Research shows that companies that have more diverse workforces outperform and out- innovate those that don’t.
  • 5. Page 5 of 14 there are a lot of things that we are specifically doing at Vertiv to keep people engaged and excited. We think a lot about attracting talent. But there is another piece, which is about retaining talent. Some of the things we are doing at Vertiv are specifically launching programs aligned with diversity. So recently, and Angie has been involved in this, we have a women at Vertiv resource group called Women at Vertiv Excel (WAVE). And that group is nurturing women, encouraging more women to pursue leadership positions within Vertiv. Really it looks at diversity in leadership positions, but it also provides important training that women can apply in their current positions. Together we are building one Vertiv culture, which is a really important framework for our company. We are creating solutions and resources that make us more competitive and reflect the global market. We find that diversity breeds new and different ideas, more innovation, and a deeper understanding of our customers, partners, employees, and our stakeholders all around the globe. We are a global company, so this is very important to us. It's going to make us more successful as we grow into the future. Another thing that we are doing is creating end-to-end management of Vertiv programs. This is new. We continue to improve this. It integrates behavioral skills and training designed to look at the work that we do through the eyes of others. We utilize experiences and talent effectively to grow stronger and stronger teams. Part of this is about recruiting and hiring. It has an emphasis on finding potential employees who possess a diverse experience of thought and perspectives. And diversity of thought comes from field experiences, from different backgrounds, and all of this contributes to our values as an employee in our organization. We also are launching the Vertiv Operating System. Now this is being created, launched, and built with an emphasis on better understanding of our differences, in bridging gaps where there are differences, and in ways that bring out the best in everybody. It's designed to encourage thought leadership, and to help all of us work through change management together. Finally, another program that we've been implementing across the globe is called Intrinsic. And Intrinsic supplies a foundational assessment designed to improve our understanding of ourselves and also of our colleagues. It's a formal experiential program that's going to help us all learn more about ourselves, what makes our individual values and styles unique, but then also it allows us to think about the people that we are working with. We can learn more about our colleagues, potentially our customers, and it allows us to grow in terms of our team dynamics and the techniques that we are using to manage conflict, stress, and change. Diversity breeds new and different ideas, more innovation, and a deeper understanding of our customers, partners, employees, and our stakeholders all around the globe.
  • 6. Page 6 of 14 Collectively, as we look at the full continuum of how we behave at Vertiv in the future we are building for ourselves, all of these efforts work together toward changing the way we think as individuals, how we behave in groups, and ultimately evolving our organizational culture to be more diverse, more inclusive, and more innovative. Gardner: Jaime at eStruxture, when we look at sustainability, it aligns quite well with these issues around talent and diversity because all the polling shows that the younger generation is much more focused on energy efficiency and consciousness around their impact on the natural world -- so sustainability. Tell us why the need for sustainability is key and aligns so well with talent and retaining the best people to work for your organization. Sustainability inspires next generation Leverton: What we know to be true about the next generation is when they look to choose a career path, or take on an assignment, they want to make sure that it aligns with their values. They want to do work that they believe in. So, our industry offers them that opportunity to be value-aligned and to make an impact where it counts. As you can see all around us, people are working and learning remotely now more than ever, and data centers are what make all of that possible. They are crucial to our society and to our everyday lives. The data center industry is only going to continue to grow, and with our dependence on energy we have to have a focus on sustainability. It represents a substantial opportunity to make a difference. It's a fast-paced environment where we truly believe there is a career path for the next generation that will matter to them. Gardner: Jaime, tell us about eStruxture Data Centers and your role there. Leverton: eStruxture is relatively new data center company. It was established just over three years ago and we have grown rapidly from our original acquisition of our first data center in Montreal. We now have three data centers in Montreal, two in Vancouver, and one in Calgary. We are a Canadian pure-play -- Canadian-owned, -operated, and - financed. We really believe in the Canadian landscape, the Canadian story, and we are going to continue to focus on growth in this nation. Gardner: When it comes to efficiency and sustainability, we often look at power usage effectiveness (PUE). Where are we in terms of getting to complete sustainability? Is it that so farfetched? Leverton: I don’t think it is. Huge strides have been made in reducing PUE, especially by us in our most recent construction, which has a PUE load of sub 1.2. Organizations in People are working and learning remotely now more than ever, and data centers are what make all of that possible.
  • 7. Page 7 of 14 our industry continue to innovate every day, trying to get as close to that 1.0 as humanly possible. We are very lucky that we partner with Vertiv. Vertiv solutions are key in driving our efficiency in our data centers, and we know that progress can be made continually by addressing the IP load deficiency and that is a savings that is incremental to PUE as well. PUE is specifically about the ratio of IP power usage and the power usage of the equipment that supports it. But we look at our data center and our business holistically to drive sustainability even outside of what the PUE covers. Gardner: It sounds like sustainability is essentially your middle name. Tell me more about that. How did you focus the construction and placement of your data centers to be focused so much on sustainability? Leverton: All of our facilities have been designed with a focus on sustainability. When we have purchased facilities, we have immediately gone to upgrade them and make them more efficient. We take advantage of free cooling wherever possible. As I mentioned, three of our data centers are in Montreal, so we get to take advantage of about eight months of the year of free cooling where the majority of our data centers are using 99.5 percent hydro-power energy, which is the cleanest possible energy that we can use. We virtualize our environments as much as possible. We carefully select eco- responsible technologies and suppliers, and we are committed to continuing to increase our power usage effectiveness without ever sacrificing the performance, scalability, or uptime of our data centers, of course. Gardner: And more specifically, when you look at that holistic approach to sustainability, how does working with a supplier like Vertiv augment and support that? How does that become a tag-team when it comes to the power source and the underlying infrastructure? Leverton: Vertiv has just been such a great partner. They were there with us from the very beginning. We work together as a team, trying to make sure that we're designing the best possible environment for our customers and for our community. One of our favorite solutions from Vertiv is around their thermal management, which is a water-free solution. That is absolutely ideal in keeping with our commitment to operate as sustainably as possible. In addition to being water-free, it's 75 percent more efficient because it has advanced controls and economization. Being able to partner with Vertiv and build their solutions into our design right from the beginning has made a huge, huge impact. We are committed to continuing to increase our power usage effectiveness without ever sacrificing the performance, scalability, or uptime of our data centers.
  • 8. Page 8 of 14 Gardner: And, like I mentioned, sustainability is the gift that keeps giving. This is not just a nice to have. This is a bottom-line benefit. Tell us about the costs and how that reinforces sustainability initiatives. Leverton: Yes, while there is an occasional higher cost in the short term, we firmly believe that the long-term total cost of ownership is lower -- and the benefits far outweigh any initial incremental costs. Obviously, it's about our values. It's critical that we do the right thing for the environment, for the community, for our staff, and for our customers. But, as I say, over the long-term, we believe the total cost is less. So far and above, sustainability is the right thing to do. Gardner: Jaime, when it comes to that sustainability formula, what really works? It's not just benefiting the organization that's supplying, it’s also benefiting the consumer. Tell us how sustainability is also a big plus when it comes to those people receiving the fruits of what the data centers produce. Leverton: Sustainability is huge for our customers, and it’s increasingly a key component of their decision-making criteria. In fact, many hyperscale cloud providers and corporations -- large corporate enterprises -- have declared very ambitious environmental responsibility objectives and are shifting to green energy. Microsoft, as an example, is targeting over 70 percent renewable energy for its data centers by 2023. Amazon reached a 50 percent renewable energy target in 2018 and is now aiming for 100 percent. Women, children and STEM step IT up Gardner: Let's look at the sustainability issue again through the lens of talent and the people who are going to be supporting these great initiatives. Angie, when it comes to bringing more women into the STEM professions, how does the IT industry present itself as an attractive career path, say for someone just graduating from high school? McMillin: When I look at children today, they're growing up with IT as part of their lives. That's a huge advantage for them. They see firsthand the value and impact it has on everything they do. I look at my nieces and nephews, and even grandkids, and they can flip through phones, tablets, they are using XBoxes, you name it, all faster than adults. They're the next generation of IT. And now, with the COVID-19 situation, children are learning how to do McMillin [With sustainability] the long-term total cost of ownership is lower – and the benefits far outweigh any initial incremental costs.
  • 9. Page 9 of 14 schooling collaboratively -- but also remotely. I believe we can engage children early with the devices they already know and use. And with the tools that they're now learning for schoolwork, those are a bridge to learning about what makes that work. It’s the data center industry. All of our data centers can be a part of that as they complete their schooling and go into higher education. They will remember this experience that we're all living through right now forever -- and so why not build upon that? Gardner: Jaime, does that align with your personal experience in terms of technology being part of the very fabric of life? Leverton: Oh, absolutely. I'm really proud of what I've seen happening in Canada. I have two young daughters and they have been able to take part in STEM camps, coding clubs, and technology is part of their regular curriculum in elementary school. The best thing we can do for our children is to teach them about technology, teach them how to be responsible with tech, and to keep them engaged with it so that over time they can be comfortable looking toward STEM careers later on. Gardner: Angie, to get people focused on being part of the next generation of data centers, are there certain degrees, paths, or educational strategies that they should be pursuing? All education paths can lead to STEM careers McMillin: Yes. It's a really interesting time in education. There are countless degrees specifically geared toward the IT industry. So those are good bets, but specifically in networking and computers, there's coding, there is cyber security, which is becoming even more important, and the list goes on. We currently see a very large skill set gap specifically around the science and technology functions. So these offer huge opportunities for a young person’s future. But I also want to highlight that the industry still needs the skill sets, the traditional engineering skills, such as power management, thermal management, services and equally important are the trade skills in this industry. There's a current gap in the workforce and the training for that may be different, but it still has a really vital role to play. And then finally, we'd be remiss if we didn't recognize the fact that there are support functions, finance, HR, and marketing. People often think that you must only be in the science or engineering part of the business to work in a particular given market, and that really isn't true. We need skill sets across a broad range to really help make us successful. People often think that you must only be in the science or engineering part of the business to work in a particular given market, and that really isn’t true.
  • 10. Page 10 of 14 Leverton: I am an IT leader and have been in this business for 20 years, and my undergraduate degrees are in political science and psychology. So I really think that it's all about how you think, and the other skills that you can bring to bear. More and more, we see emotional intelligence (EQ) and communication skills as the difference-maker to somebody's career success or career trajectory. We just need to make sure that people aren't afraid of coming out of more generalized degrees. Gardner: We have heard a lot about the T structure, where we need to have the vertical technology background but also we want those with cultural leadership, liberal arts, and collaboration skills. Angie, you are involved with mentoring young women specifically. What's your take on the potential? What do you see now as the diversity is welling up and the available pool of talent is shifting? McMillin: I am, and I absolutely love it. One of the things I do is support a women's engineering summer camp probably much like Jaime's daughters attend, and other events around my alma mater, with the University of Dayton. I support mentoring interns and other early career individuals, be they male or female. There is just so much potential in young people. They are absolutely eager to learn and play their part. They want to have relevance in the growing data center market, and the IT and sustainability that we talked about earlier. It's really fun and enjoyable to help them along that journey. I get asked for advice, and there are two key themes that I repeat. One is that success doesn’t happen overnight. So enjoy those small steps on the journey that we take to much greater things, and the important part of that, is really just keep taking the steps, learn as much as you can, and don’t give up. The second thing is to keep an open mind in your career, being willing to try new things and opportunities and sometimes doors are going to open that you didn’t even imagine, which is absolutely okay. As a prime example, I started my education in the aerospace industry. When that industry was hurting, I switched to mechanical. There is a broader range of that field of study, and I spent a large part of my career in automotive. I then moved to consumer and now I am in data center and IT. I am essentially a space geek and car junkie engineer with experience in engineering, strategy, sales, portfolio transformation, and operations. And now I am a general manager for an IT management portfolio. If I hadn't been open to new opportunities and doors along my career path, I wouldn’t be here today. So it's an example for the younger generation. There are broad possibilities. You don’t have to have it all figured out now, but keep taking those steps and keep trying and keep learning -- and the world awaits you, essentially. Enjoy those small steps on the journey that we take to much greater things … just keep taking the steps, learn as much as you can, and don’t give up.
  • 11. Page 11 of 14 Gardner: Angie what sort of challenges have you faced over the years in your career? And how is that changing? Women rise, yet challenges continue McMillin: It’s a great question. My experience at Vertiv has been wonderful with a support structure of diversity for women and leadership. We talked about the new WAVE program that Erin mentioned earlier. You can feel that across your organization. It starts at the top. I also had the benefit, as many of us I think had on this podcast, of having good sponsors along the way in our career journeys to help us get to where we are. But that doesn’t mean we haven’t faced challenges throughout our careers. And there are challenges that still arise for many in the industry. In all the industries I have worked, which have all been male-dominated industries, there is this necessity to have to prove yourself as a woman -- like 10 times over -- for your right to be at the table with a voice regardless of the credentials you have coming in. It gets exhausting, and it's not consistent with male counterparts. It’s a “show me first” and then “I might believe,” it's also BS. That’s something that a lot of women in this industry, as well as in other industries, continue to have to surpass. The other common challenge is that you need to over-prove yourself, so that people know that the position was earned. I always want people to know I got my position because I earned it, and I have something to offer not because of a diversity quota. And that’s a lot better today than it's been in years passed. But I can tell you, I can still hear those words, of accusations made of female colleagues that I knew throughout my career. When one female gets elevated in a position and fails, it makes it a lot harder for other females to get the chance of an opportunity or promotion. Now, again, it's getting better. But to give you a real-world example, if you think about the number of industries where there are women CEOs. If they don't succeed, boards get very nervous about putting another woman in a CEO position. If a male CEO doesn't succeed, he is often just not the right fit. So we still have a long way to go. Gardner: Jaime at eStruxture, what's been your experience as a woman in the technology field? Leverton: Well, eStruxture has been an incredible experience for me. We have diversity throughout the organization. Actually we are almost at 50 percent of our population identifying as non-white heterosexual male, which is quite different from what I've experienced over the rest of my career in technology. From a female perspective, our senior leadership team is 35 percent women; our director population is almost 50 percent women. I always want people to know I got my position because I earned it, and I have something to offer not because of a diversity quota.
  • 12. Page 12 of 14 So it's been a real breath of fresh air for me. In fact, I would say it really speaks to the values of our founder when he started this company three years ago and did it with the intention of having a diverse organization. Not only does it better mirror our customers but it absolutely reflects the values of our organization, the culture we wanted to create, and ultimately to drive better returns. Gardner: Angie, why is the data center industry a particularly attractive career choice right now? What will the future look like in say five years? Why should people be thinking about this as a no-brainer when it comes to their futures? Wanted: Skilled data center professionals McMillin: We are in a fascinating time for data center trends. The future is very, very strong. We know now -- and the kids of today certainly know -- that data isn't going away. It's part of our everyday lives and it's only going to expand -- it's going to get faster with more compute power and capability. Let’s face it, nobody has patience for slow anymore. There are trends in artificial intelligence (AI), 5G, and others that haven't even been thought of yet that are going to offer enormous potential for careers for those looking to get into the IT space. And when we think about that new trend -- with the increase of working or schooling remotely as many of us are doing currently -- that may permanently alter how people work and learn going forward. There will be a need for different tools, capabilities, and data management. And how this all remains secure and efficient is also very important. Likewise, more data centers will need to operate independently and be managed remotely. They will need to be more efficient. Sustainability is going to remain very prevalent, especially edge-of-the-network data centers and enabling the connectivity and productivity wherever they are. Gardner: Now that we are observing International Data Center Day 2020, where do you see this state of the data center in just the next few years? Angie, what's going to be changing that makes this even more important to almost every aspect of our lives and businesses? McMillin: We know now the data center as an ecosystem that is changing dramatically. The hybrid model is a product that's enabling a diversification of data workloads where customers get the best of all options available: cloud, data center, and edge, as our regional global survey of data center professionals are experiencing phenomenal growth. And we also see a lot more remote management to operate and maintain these disparate locations securely. The hybrid model is a product that’s enabling a diversification of data workloads where customers get the best of all options available.
  • 13. Page 13 of 14 We need more people with all the skill sets capable of supporting these advancements on the horizon like 5G, the industrial internet of things (IIoT), and AI. Gardner: Erin, where do you see the trends of technology and human resources going that will together shape the future of the data center? Dowd: I will piggyback on the technology trends that Angie just referenced and say the future requires more skilled professionals. It will be more competitive in the industry to hire those professionals, and so it's really a great situation for candidates. It makes it important for companies like Vertiv to continue creating environments that favor diversity. Diversity should manifest in many different ways and in an environment where we welcome and nurture a broad variety of people. That's the direction of the future, and, naturally, the secret for success. Gardner: I’m afraid we’ll have to leave it there. We have been exploring how future data center advancements will hinge around the next generation of talent and sustainability. And we have observed at International Data Center Day 2020 that we are seeing new ways to make the data center of the future the best operated and the greenest ever. So please join me in thanking our guests, Jaime Leverton, Senior Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer at eStruxture Data Centers. Thank you so much, Jaime. Leverton: Thank you again for having me. It was a lot of fun. Gardner: And also thank you to Angie McMillin, Vice President and General Manager of IT Systems at Vertiv. Thank you, Angie. McMillin: Thank you. I enjoyed this today. Gardner: And lastly, thank you to Erin Dowd, Vice President of Global Human Resources at Vertiv. Thank you so much. Dowd: Thank you. This is a very important topic to all of us. Gardner: And a big thank you to our audience as well for joining this sponsored BriefingsDirect data center strategies panel. I’m Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, your host for this ongoing series of Vertiv-sponsored discussions. Thanks again for listening. Please pass this along to your community, and do come back next time. Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes. Download the transcript. Sponsor: Vertiv. A discussion on how data center challenges and advancements alike will hinge around the next generation of diverse talent supporting data centers and how sustainability will advance as a top design requirement. Copyright Interarbor Solutions, LLC, 2005-2020. All rights reserved.
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