October 08, 2023
A data center is a facility in one or more buildings that contains a centralized computing infrastructure, typically servers, storage, and networking equipment.
In this world of apps, big data and digitization, you can't stay ahead of your industry without an advanced computing infrastructure.
If you want something stored locally, a datacenter is way to go.
Its primary role is to support all critical business applications and workloads that all organizations use to run their business.
In this article, we'll detail what's in a data center, different types and ratings, key systems for maximizing uptime, and how to find right location if you're planning to build your own data center . .The Role of Data Center: What Does a Data Center Do?
Data centers are designed to handle large amounts of data and traffic with minimal latency, making them particularly useful in following use cases:
Private cloud: hosting internal business applications such as CRM, ERP, etc. Big data processing to enable machine learning and artificial intelligence. Operations of electronic commerce in large volumes. Support for online gaming platforms and communities. Data storage, backup, recovery and management. There are other examples, but these are some of more common use cases for businesses.
Of course, in 2021 you can outsource all data processing to third parties like AWS or Google Cloud.
However, it's not always easy for companies to share data with another party, not to mention that scaling is often more expensive.
According to a 2020 study, companies are choosing to use data centers in public environments to reduce costs, address performance issues, or meet regulatory service requirements.What is in data center?
The data center contains everything you need to securely store and process your organization's (or your customers') data, including physical servers, hard drives, and state-of-the-art network equipment.
Infrastructure also includes external and backup power supply systems, external network and communication systems, electrical wiring systems, environmental control and security systems.
If you've ever visited a data center, it often looks and feels like a scene from a sci-fi movie. With rows of servers, cooling towers, and a staggering amount of network cables, you can say you're looking at The Matrix mainframe.
Today, when uptime is expected to be as close to 100% as possible, data centers often include intelligent control systems. It optimizes cooling, climate control and more automatically optimizes performance.
This is a Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) system. Basically, it takes same concept as a smart home (automatic temperature control, etc.) to next level.
This is required if you never want your application and private big data cloud to be unavailable.Types of data centers
There are many types of data centers that may or may not be suitable for your company's needs. Let's take a closer look:
A colocation center (also known as a "carrier hotel") is a type of data center where you can rent equipment, space, and bandwidth from data center owner.
For example, instead of renting virtual machines from a public cloud provider, you can rent a certain amount of hardware directly from a designated datacenter.
An enterprise data center is a data center that is wholly owned by a company and is used to process internal data and host critical applications.
Using third-party cloud services, you can create a virtual data center in cloud. It's similar to hosting, but instead of just renting equipment and setting it up yourself, you can use a specific service.
Edge Data Center
Edge data centers are small data centers located as close as possible to end users. Instead of one huge data center, you have multiple smaller data centers to keep latency and latency to a minimum.
Organizations are deploying edge computing power when IoT devices and low-latency data are needed.
Micro data center
A micro data center is essentially an edge data center taken to extreme. It may be a small office that only processes data processed in a specific area.
The most popular are still large corporate data centers, but experts expect further growth of colocation centers and micro-data centers.
Data centers are still a viable asset for organizations, but as computing needs evolve and industries evolve, enterprise data centers are turning into hybrid computing infrastructures.
This modern approach includes traditional data centers that often host mission-critical applications that require maximum uptime and privacy, sometimes referred to as "crown jewels".
To meet needs of Tier 2 applications (non-critical applications), organizations typically use public cloud data centers. For example, many companies rely on third-party cloud services for their DevOps activities.
We also classify data centers into tiers based on expected uptime and infrastructure reliability.Data center classification: Level 1, 2, 3, 4
Companies also rank data centers by tiers to highlight their expected uptime and reliability.
Let's break it down:
Tier 1. Tier 1 data centers have a single path for power and cooling and have almost no redundant and redundant components. Expected uptime is 99.671% (28.8 hours of downtime per year).
Tier 2. A Tier 2 data center has a single path for power and cooling, plus some redundant and redundant components. Expected uptime is 99.741% (22 hours of downtime per year).
Layer 3 A Tier 3 data center has multiple power and cooling paths, as well as systems for online upgrades and maintenance. Expected uptime is 99.982% (1.6 hours of downtime per year).
Tier 4. Tier 4 data centers are fully fault-tolerant with every component redundant. Expected uptime is 99.995% (26.3 minutes of downtime per year).
Which data center tier you need depends on your SLA and other factors.
In addition to hardware, where you decide to build your data center can have a big impact on results.Choosing a data center location is critical
Choosing a location for your data center is one of most important decisions you'll ever make.
Here are some things you should consider:
Proximity to key markets and customers. Latency and reliable connectivity are main factors in efficient operation of a facility that meets customer needs.
Labor costs and availability. While labor costs may be good in a particular region, are there enough specialists (in different fields) to run and maintainyour data center?
Environmental conditions. Fluctuations in temperature and humidity damage ecological systems and forecasts. Earthquakes, hurricanes, blizzards and tornadoes are unpredictable and can close facilities indefinitely. Please keep this in mind.
Accessibility and quality of airports and highways. To build and maintain data centers, you need large equipment and service equipment. It must also be easily accessible for delivery, maintenance and staff.
Availability and cost of real estate options - construction or purchase should consider cost of construction and quality of construction, and not incentives of landlord and local authorities
Number of incentives for local economic development. In addition to building considerations, local jurisdictions may offer incentives for development in rural or less attractive areas. In contrast, tax and regulatory requirements can be costly and restrictive.
Availability of telecommunications infrastructure. Make sure local ISP can meet your future bandwidth needs and that your ISP has not only backup systems but multiple ISPs available p>
Utility expenses. Costs vary around world and in some regions you may not have a choice of where to locate your data center and it is wise to consider alternative power sources, and in some cases countries are required.Physical Data Center Security: How to Keep Your Data Safe
When developing a strategy to keep your data secure and available at all times, there are three important concepts to keep in mind: data security, service continuity, and security of people and assets.Data security
Data security systems, including physical and telemetry systems, strong enforcement of security policies, and highly available redundancy form foundation for data protection. They protect against physical intrusions, cyberattacks, man-made and environmental incidents.Service continuity
Create an appropriate power and network architecture, including redundancy, fault simulation, and automated workflows. This way, you will be able to meet your SLAs and protect yourself from unexpected events.Safety and security of personnel and property
Use proven data center design practices to monitor weight and power distribution, cabling, and alarm systems to raise alarms before safety thresholds are reached.Asset integrity monitoring: improve security of your data center
MonitAsset integrity monitoring is cornerstone of any large computing infrastructure. It constantly monitors your system for anomalies and immediately alerts you to electrical and environmental events.Data center teams can use them to:
Hybrid computing infrastructure refers to combination of a traditional enterprise data center and a public cloud infrastructure.
Hybrid computing infrastructure complements traditional data centers. It provides optimal application workload balancing, user experience and cost optimization.
It also supports adoption of new virtualization technologies, high-density racks, and HCI appliances. (If you don't know what that means, all more reason to outsource some of your calculations.)
A hybrid approach allows any organization and management style to tailor infrastructure to suit their business. Conservative and security oriented organizations will monitor critical applications in physical data centers owned and operated by their staff.
For organizations that are not yet ready to invest tens of millions of dollars to build or expand their data center, using a managed service provider is a great choice to balance risk and cost.
The public cloud and SaaS are ideal for deployment speed and short-term processing power.
In use cases where latency needs to be as low as possible (such as Internet of Things or high-speed transactions), edge computing is critical.Conclusion
While world of cloud computing continues to evolve with tighter regulations and higher customer expectations, we are seeing a return to data center, often in smaller "edge" or "micro" data center networks.