A data center (or datacenter) is a facility composed of networked computers and storage that businesses or other organizations use to organize, process, store and disseminate large amounts of data. A business typically relies heavily upon the applications, services and data contained within a data center, making it a focal point and critical asset for everyday operations.
Data centers are not a single thing, but rather, a conglomeration of elements. At a minimum, data centers serve as the principal repositories for all manner of IT equipment, including servers, storage subsystems, networking switches, routers and firewalls, as well as the cabling and physical racks used to organize and interconnect the IT equipment. A data center must also contain an adequate infrastructure, such as power distribution and supplemental power subsystems, including electrical switching; uninterruptable power supplies; backup generators and so on; ventilation and data center cooling systems, such as computer room air conditioners; and adequate provisioning for network carrier (telco) connectivity. All of this demands a physical facility with physical security and sufficient physical space to house the entire collection of infrastructure and equipment.
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F.A.Q about Data center
What are the requirements for modern data centers?
Modernization and data center transformation enhances performance and energy efficiency.
Information security is also a concern, and for this reason a data center has to offer a secure environment which minimizes the chances of a security breach. A data center must therefore keep high standards for assuring the integrity and functionality of its hosted computer environment.
Industry research company International Data Corporation (IDC) puts the average age of a data center at nine years old. Gartner, another research company, says data centers older than seven years are obsolete. The growth in data (163 zettabytes by 2025) is one factor driving the need for data centers to modernize.
Focus on modernization is not new: Concern about obsolete equipment was decried in 2007, and in 2011 Uptime Institute was concerned about the age of the equipment therein. By 2018 concern had shifted once again, this time to the age of the staff: "data center staff are aging faster than the equipment."
Meeting standards for data centers
The Telecommunications Industry Association's Telecommunications Infrastructure Standard for Data Centers specifies the minimum requirements for telecommunications infrastructure of data centers and computer rooms including single tenant enterprise data centers and multi-tenant Internet hosting data centers. The topology proposed in this document is intended to be applicable to any size data center.
Telcordia GR-3160, NEBS Requirements for Telecommunications Data Center Equipment and Spaces, provides guidelines for data center spaces within telecommunications networks, and environmental requirements for the equipment intended for installation in those spaces. These criteria were developed jointly by Telcordia and industry representatives. They may be applied to data center spaces housing data processing or Information Technology (IT) equipment. The equipment may be used to:
- Operate and manage a carrier's telecommunication network
- Provide data center based applications directly to the carrier's customers
- Provide hosted applications for a third party to provide services to their customers
- Provide a combination of these and similar data center applications
Data center transformation
Data center transformation takes a step-by-step approach through integrated projects carried out over time. This differs from a traditional method of data center upgrades that takes a serial and siloed approach. The typical projects within a data center transformation initiative include standardization/consolidation, virtualization, automation and security.
- Standardization/consolidation: Reducing the number of data centers and avoiding server sprawl (both physical and virtual) often includes replacing aging data center equipment, and is aided by standardization.
- Virtualization: Lowers capital and operational expenses, reduce energy consumption. Virtualized desktops can be hosted in data centers and rented out on a subscription basis. Investment bank Lazard Capital Markets estimated in 2008 that 48 percent of enterprise operations will be virtualized by 2012. Gartner views virtualization as a catalyst for modernization.
- Automating: Automating tasks such as provisioning, configuration, patching, release management and compliance is needed, not just when facing fewer skilled IT workers.
- Securing: Protection of virtual systems is integrated with existing security of physical infrastructures.
The term "Machine Room" is at times used to refer to the large room within a Data Center where the actual Central Processing Unit is located; this may be separate from where high-speed printers are located. Air conditioning is most important in the machine room.
Aside from air-conditioning, there must be monitoring equipment, one type of which is to detect water prior to flood-level situations. One company, for several decades, has had share-of-mind: Water Alert. The company, as of 2018, has 2 competing manufacturers (Invetex, Hydro-Temp) and 3 competing distributors (Longden,Northeast Flooring, Slayton).