State-of-the-Art Data Centers Driving Down Server Support Staffing Levels

January, 2017

State-of-the-art data centers are changing the equation on optimal server support staffing levels, and the result of those changes is that the ratio of that support staff as a percentage of the total IT staff declined again in 2016.

Trends such as data center consolidation, virtualization, outsourcing, and data center automation have contributed to the trend of lower levels of IT staffing. We anticipate the trend of declining server support staff will continue.

As shown in Figure 1 from our full report, Server Support Staffing Ratios, server support staff as a percentage of the IT staff dropped at the median from 7.7% in 2015 to 7.1% in 2016.

ServerSupp Fig 1 - State-of-the-Art Data Centers Driving Down Server Support Staffing Levels

For this category, it is important to understand who is excluded from the headcount. Our count of server support staffing does not include database administrators, network support personnel, or communications system support personnel. Also excluded are IT managers, although shift supervisors and senior-level personnel are counted as part of the staff.

Many IT organizations today have data centers where legacy systems co-exist with virtualized servers and software-defined storage running atop commodity hardware. That makes optimal data center staffing a moving target. What is the standard level of server support staffing in today’s data center?

To answer that question, in our full report we start with an assessment of how server support staffing has changed over time. Next we provide four key metrics for benchmarking server support staff: server support staff as a percentage of the IT staff, users per server support staff member, operating system (OS) instances per server support staff member, and physical servers per server support staff member. We provide these metrics for small, midsize, and large organizations. We also assess how industry sector can influence server support staffing ratios. We conclude with recommendations for improving server support productivity.

This Research Byte is a brief overview of our report on this subject, Server Support Staffing Ratios. The full report is available at no charge for Computer Economics clients, or it may be purchased by non-clients directly from our website (click for pricing).

Do you also need staffing ratios for other IT job functions? Consider this collection of all of our staffing ratio reports, which bundles them all into a single report at a significant discount: IT Staffing Ratios–Special Report Bundle.