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Deep Dive: Sascha Giese, Tech Evangelist, SolarWinds

Deep Dive: Sascha Giese, Tech Evangelist, SolarWinds

Deep DiveIndustry Expert
Sascha Giese, Tech Evangelist, Solarwinds

What would you describe as your most memorable achievement in the data centre industry?

One of my most memorable moments was seeing myself on the cover of a print magazine for the first time. I could see the spark in my mother’s eyes as that made her really proud. However, taking up new jobs and roles are big achievements on their own – since we’re all building our careers. Even though we know that there is no ultimate goal, we continue moving forward – as the journey is our reward and that comes with accomplishments all the way.

What first made you think of a career in technology/data centres?

I was an avid gamer. Back then, you had to tinker with your computer’s hardware and operating system to make sure games ran at its best. That puts you on a fast track for any job in technology as you want to understand and manage tech. But the more you read and learn, the more stuff you discover. Working in technology is an enriching experience as there are niches for everyone.

What style of management philosophy do you employ with your current position?

Tech professionals who aren’t in their 20s any longer are familiar with the situation of changing roles and responsibilities. My current position is entirely theoretical – I am reading and writing about tech much more than touching stuff or entering a CLI. I would say that it’s critical not to lose touch with the fundamentals, so things become more attractive whenever a more hands-on approach is required, or even possible.

What do you think is the current hot talking point within the data centre space?

Green IT is a hot and emerging topic. Traditionally, data centre operators preferred energy-efficient hardware primarily to save costs. Meanwhile, we advanced a bit as a society and can completely understand the consequences of our environmental impact. As a result, the data centres strive to become emission-neutral and keep their ecological footprint as low as possible. With the already high levels of automation, it’s not an easy task. We will witness more green coding in the data centre space, as this technology promises some hidden potential for improvement.

How do you deal with stress and unwind outside the office?

We live in a busy world, and ‘slow is the new down’. Our jobs rotate around sprints, firefighting and deadlines. To keep our sanity intact and prevent burnout, it’s crucial to learn the art of saying ‘no’ in a friendly manner. Setting proper expectations, suggesting alternatives, or discussing workloads within the team are just some of the methods which help you reduce stress and achieve the ideal work-life balance. On the other hand, it’s equally important to find hobbies that distract you from your 9-5 and, ideally, only have a little in common with your routine. Personally, for me, cooking helps me unwind on a Friday evening and I can then prepare for the weekend.

What do you currently identify as the major areas of investment in your industry?

While the obvious area would be Artificial Intelligence, let’s remember something fundamental – people. Investing in people is the key to successful transformation. AI, as self-sufficient as it could be, needs some form of input and direction. There’s always a need for highly skilled individuals in technology and this won’t go away easily. In the future, the worst-case scenario could be that we’re all going to eventually end up as AI prompters.

What are the region-specific challenges you encounter in your role?

Each nation has its own laws and regulations to respect and then there are things like GDPR, which, even though in place since 2018, still needs to be clarified. But there’s another considerable difference between regions like the USA and Europe or Asia: the general acceptance of technology from its citizens. The most well-known example is clouds. In the USA, it’s used in many places and generally accepted by individuals and organisations. However, the situation is different In Europe and Asia as questions of cost, trust and data sovereignty cause annoyance for all involved parties.

What changes to your job role have you seen in the last year and how do you see these developing in the coming months?

In general, the pandemic was a blessing for the technology sector. Exceptions aside, most companies increased their revenue and hired loads of people. We’re now returning to the previous state and have witnessed all these layoffs in the last few years. I fear this situation will continue and we’re on our way to a recession. To cut the long story short, one of the priorities for many businesses in tech is to do more with less.

There will be further budget cuts in various departments and leaders must have a proactive and creative approach to solving ongoing problems. This does not seem to be a major challenge for data centres as they are operating almost autonomously and run tightly optimised like only a few other businesses. Apart from this, we should keep an eye on AI. As a technologist, the pool of opportunities does not scare me, and if you have a little insight into the technology, then you know that it takes effort to replace humans. But things are advancing with speed and it will play an increasingly important role.

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