A Data Center is a physical space made up of servers, storage, network equipment, cabling and cabinets, air conditioning systems. All these elements make up the ICT (Information Communication Technology) infrastructure that serves to support the business of companies.
- A physical data center often requires redundant power systems, cooling systems, network connections, and security policies, both physical and logical, to access the systems.
- Depending on the company's size and technological needs, a data center can be large from a few square meters or occupy several rooms, even entire buildings.
A data center is an infrastructure made up of a network of computers and storage spaces. This infrastructure can be used by companies to organize, process, and store large amounts of data. Typically, a business relies heavily on the applications, services, and data contained in a data center. It is, therefore, an essential part of the business on a daily basis.
A data center is a collection of elements. A basic data center brings together servers, storage subsystems, network switches, routers, firewalls, and of course, cables and physical racks to organize and interconnect all these IT equipment.
To function properly, a Data Center must also house the appropriate infrastructure: an energy distribution system, an electrical switch, energy reserves, generators dedicated to backup, ventilation and cooling system, and a powerful internet connection. Such an infrastructure requires a sufficiently large and secure physical space to contain all this equipment. Let’s find out together about the data data and everything related to it!
A Cloud Data Center or Virtual Data Center (VDC), being virtual, has the quality of using non-physical repositories, exploiting the cloud's power and scalability. The VDC offers on-demand computing, storage, and applications, all transparently to end-users. With these solutions, you no longer need to purchase, manage, and maintain the physical IT infrastructure. In some cases (especially in the case of smaller companies that generally do not have particularly critical services and processes), Virtual Data Centers completely replace the physical Data Centers of companies that prefer the pay per use formula.
In other cases (especially in the case of larger companies), the Virtual Data Center becomes an extension of the corporate data center, of the data room that many large companies already have internally, in the cloud of an external supplier. In this case, we speak of a Hybrid Cloud or Hybrid Cloud.
The capacity of the VDC, again by virtue of virtualization technologies is flexible and elastic in relation to the business needs of each organization. Therefore, the scalability of the virtual infrastructure according to the increase in workloads, or the occurrence of peaks in processing needs in the various applications and processes can be administered without causing heavy impacts on the control, performance, or reliability of the infrastructure itself.
Modern large enterprises can use two or more data centers in various locations for better resiliency and application performance, and reduce latency by placing them closer to users. On the contrary, the company with multiple data centers may choose to consolidate them, reducing their number to minimize operating costs. Consolidation typically occurs during business mergers and acquisitions, when the majority business does not need the data centers used by the firms they are buying out.
The data center operators can also pay to rent a server space or other equipment in a room. Collocation is an attractive option for companies that do not wish to invest heavily in a building and maintain their own centers. These days, colocation providers are expanding their offering to offer management services such as interconnectivity, to allow their customers to connect to the public cloud.
Their physical size does not determine data centers. Small businesses can use a small room to juxtapose several interconnected servers and storage spaces. Large-scale IT companies, like Facebook, Amazon, or Google, can fill a huge warehouse. It is also possible to set up mobile installations, such as containers, also called data centers in a box, which can be moved and deployed as needed.
On the other hand, it is possible to define a data center according to its level of reliability and resilience. Data centers are thus classified by third parties. In 2005, ANSI and TIA published the ANSI / TIA-942, Telecommunications Infrastructure Standard for Data Centers. This standard defines the four-thirds of Data Center designs.
Theoretically, any space large enough can serve as a data center. However, the design and implementation of a data center require taking several precautions. Beyond the basic problems of cost and taxes, sites are selected on many criteria, such as geographic location, weather stability, access to roads and airports, energy availability, telecommunications, or the environment.
Once a site is secure, the architecture of a Data Center can be designed with attention to the electrical and mechanical infrastructure, as well as the composition and availability of IT equipment. All of these criteria depend on the targeted Data Center third party.
The design of a data center must also take energy efficiency into account. A smaller data center can run on a few kilowatts of power, but setting up a large enterprise can require tens of megawatts or even more. Green data centers, designed to have a minimal environmental impact through the use of low-emission building materials, catalytic converters, and alternative energy technologies, are increasingly popular.
The companies typically measure the efficiency of a data center through a metric called Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE). This represents the ratio of total energy within a data center divided by the energy used by IT equipment. The rise of virtualization has made it possible to use IT equipment more productively, to maximize efficiency, reduce energy use, and mitigate costs. Metrics like PUEs are no longer essential for energy efficiency goals.
The design of a data center must correspond to security standards. In general, security is provided by access doors and corridors, which must allow the transport of large computer equipment and allow employees to make repairs.
In addition, the risk of fire is very high in a data center. It is, therefore, necessary to deploy firefighting systems. Rather than electrical or electronic equipment, many data centers prefer to switch to greener chemical systems. Finally, security measures such as access badges or video surveillance systems make it possible to detect and prevent the malfeasance of employees, contractors, and intruders.
Modern data centers use monitoring and management software. The software such as data center infrastructure management tools allow IT, administrators to monitor the equipment, measure performance, detect errors, and to implement corrective actions without physically entering the data center. The growth of virtualization has also added another important dimension to the management of data center infrastructure. It allows resources to be organized into basins without worrying about their physical location. Administrators can then perform management from these resource pools. When administrators no longer need them, they can return them to the pools for reuse. All of these actions can be implemented through software. This system is called a software-defined data center.
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