Some sort of social hierarchy exists in all fields of life, from work to social circles, even within families, although many would deny it. The IT industry, as glorified as it is, has not escaped this phenomenon. According to a nytimes article written by Steve Lohr, “software wizards” and “marketing visionaries” used to be at the top of the heap, while mechanical engineers were taken largely for granted at the bottom. They were expected to go about their dreary business without much thought or innovation, and as long as computers kept running, no one gave them much thought.
Now, however, data centres are buckling under the pressure of increased demand, as more people integrate computers into their everyday lives, and find IT technology indispensable. Add the burgeoning energy crisis and pressure to adopt eco-friendly practices and you get a sudden reversal of fortunes. Now mechanical engineers are prized above all other IT professionals, as they are the only ones who can rejuvenate ailing data centres, and contribute towards the creation of more efficient systems.
According to Digital Reality Trust, giants in the data centre industry, customer demand has exceeded its ability to meet customer needs for the next two years by 50%. It’s for this reason that mechanical engineers are now able to demand 6-figure salaries for their specialised services. Chandrakant Patel, a mechanical engineer at Hewlett-Packard Labs believes that the time has come for mechanical engineers to shine, and to change the world for the better using “engineering and basic science”. In his opinion, data centres can be made 30% – 50% more efficient, simply by applying existing technology.
Reports show that data centres in the US have doubled in the five years leading up to 2006. The US government has estimated that data centres now use more energy than that used to power the nation’s colour television sets, and in the US, that’s a lot of TVs. Even more disturbing is the estimate that energy consumed by data centres will double again by 2011, and that by 2020, data centres will pass the airline industry as the largest cause of greenhouse gas emissions. used engines near me
Energy and pollution aside, further analysis has shown that 30% of US corporations are putting off technology initiatives owing strictly to the fact that data centres have become so limited. Little wonder that the IT industry is in such a panic to get its house in order.
Paul Marcoux, a mechanical engineer with 30 years of data centre experience to his name, believes that the only way to address the problem is to bridge the analogue and digital worlds and to increase communication between the various components involved. For example, he believes that it’s necessary for computers to be able to “talk” to the coolers and power generators, to direct work to where it’s needed, which will save energy and increase efficiency.
With some companies having to wait up to eight months to find people to run their data centres, it’s never been a better time to be a mechanical engineer. Salaries are at a premium and bonuses are standard practice, but more important than all the financial rewards, is the respect that is finally being bestowed on the long-serving mechanical engineers of the IT industry.