Breaking into the data centre sector. Getting a foot in the door post-university

Christopher Stumm

Finding a way to break into the data centre industry fresh out of university is not as easy as some of the more conventional job roles out there. The sector is laced in many different fabrics, that all work hand in hand in the task of housing the whole world’s IT technology innovation universe.

This article originally appeared in the February/March 2020 Data Economy Magazine

As daunting as that may sound for some, this was the very reason why Christopher Stumm, Business Development Manager, Global Data Centers at NTT Ltd. chose the industry seven years ago at the age of 19. He describes the data centre sector to Abigail Opiah as “the hub that houses the digital world”, adding that the increase in digitalisation is what will keep him in the industry for years to come.

“The data centre industry is interesting because it’s something like the home of so many different infrastructures of different industries. You have the whole IT and technology innovation universe at one point, which is something that you don’t have when working for one specific vendor,” he says.

“That is something that makes the data centre unique – having a platform that is the house or foundation for a wide set of technologies and innovation. Everything is becoming digital and IT-based as we can see in our private lives, which is one of the main growth drivers of the data centre industry.”

The Frankfurt-based data centre business developer studied BA Business Informatics at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, began his career at HP, moved to Hewlett Packard Enterprise and is now settled at NTT Ltd. who recently announced a new Global Data Centers division, which incorporates its e-shelter, Gyron, Netmagic, NTT Indonesia Nexcenter, RagingWire and other data centre companies.

“I am mainly responsible for the so-called technology experience labs
at NTT, and these labs are a globally available environment, which is a part of a productive data centre site of an NTT data centre, and it’s a platform that is filled with a lot of technology partners,” explains Stumm.

“At the moment, we have over 140 partners that we are collaborating with, and it’s filled with cutting edge technology like hybrid cloud, Artificial Intelligence (AI), robotics and Internet of Things (IoT). Everything that is in there has been built up over the last two years, thus it’s an instrument that is not too old, and this platform is done to serve clients as a testing platform so that they can explore different technologies and find the right one for their specific requirements. We began this two years ago with a lab in Frankfurt, and since then decided to roll out in different regions in the world where NTT data centres are operated.”


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When asked about what the typical career journey into the data centre industry from university looks like, Stumm says that from a technical perspective, there is a high demand for engineering, but in terms of technology, it is helpful to have a Business Informatics background.

“Looking at the path of the data centre, quite a lot was facility driven, but over the last couple of years, almost everybody is aware of the positions that are coming into the data centre in terms of cloud requirements, latency requirements and bandwidth requirements,” he adds.

“It’s not only about the pure facility, or the cooling or power, it’s more about business informatics’ driven sector. Studying informatics is quite helpful to get started in the data centre sector and understand the holistic picture.

With the industry evolving, Stumm adds that one of the most significant trend he is witnessing in the industry is AI.

“AI is coming into every single industry, and enterprise AI workloads are very GPU driven, which is a perfect example of how technology is being translated into the data centre itself,” he concludes.

“These GPU based infrastructures usually come with a really high density, which means that they need a huge amount of power and cooling in a hybrid way. Connecting to cloud environments for example, these environments will need a huge bandwidth and low latency, which is very visible in the data centre industry.

“In the next five years, I plan to still be in the data centre industry because I think the sector has a bright future because of the rising demand for data centres.”

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