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Data Center Definition: Understanding Why Data Centers Essential for Business Operations

Author Moore

Date 05/20/2024

Learn how data centers are revolutionizing your organization's IT infrastructure, what a data center is, and why they are becoming increasingly popular. Click this blog post to learn more!

So, where does data reside, how is it managed, and how is availability when you need it assured? The solution is the data center, and it’s far more complex than you might believe. What a data center is, the different kinds of data centers, the functions and demands you should have, and why data centers matter to businesses will all be shown in this blog.

 

Data Center Definition: What is it?

 

A data center is a sizable network of interconnected computer servers primarily employed by organizations for the remote storage, processing, and dissemination of extensive data volumes.

 

While a data center's primary function is to store, process, and manage the large amounts of data required for business operations, it relies on physical infrastructure components under the architecture, such as network switch. The components interact to facilitate secure and flawless data processing and storage.

 

The management may decide to own the data center or outsource services from third-party providers. The providers include managed services, colocation, and cloud services, including different levels of control and access to data and infrastructure.

 

data center

The Different Types of Data Centers Introduction

There has been an evolution from tightly controlled, single-company-only, in-house data center facilities to remote networks that house virtualized and hybrid IT infrastructures for shared use by customers. 

 

Enterprise (On-Premise) Data Centers

 

An on-premises data center is a physical location that a business owns and operates for internal computing and storing data. An in-house or fully customized data center is created to meet the requirements of a single business. It forces the enterprise to host all the on-site IT infrastructure and store data there. Using an on-premise data center based on location is an option when it is necessary to secure information and meet the GDPR of the EU or the HIPAA Act in the U.S. Although this approach is advantageous for specific industries, it also obliges the company to do everything from deployment to monitoring and management.

 

Hosted Service Data Centers

 

Hosted data centers are deployed, managed, and monitored by a third-party service provider. The company leases the servers, storage, and networking hardware while the data center provider oversees the administration, monitoring, and management through the hosted services platform.

 

These data centers are ideal for companies that need more space, staff, or expertise to manage their internal IT infrastructure but want their critical data to be separate from the shared resources of a public cloud data center.

 

Colocation Data Centers

 

Colocation data centers offer a hybrid solution in which an enterprise rents space in an off-site facility that provides infrastructure, including power, cooling, and security. The organization provides and manages components such as hardware and servers.

 

Traditionally, the customer has exclusive access to the hardware and is fully responsible for managing it. However, this can be impractical in a power outage or emergency. As a result, most colocation providers now offer additional services such as management and monitoring to improve business agility, performance, and flexibility.

 

Colocation is suitable for businesses of all sizes. It allows businesses to benefit from optimized services tailored to their unique needs while minimizing the total cost of ownership.

 

Cloud Data Center

 

Cloud data centers are external variants of traditional data centers, and it is mainly leased and managed by ISP and accessed over the Internet. These data centers include smaller edge centers closer to customers to handle real-time, data-intensive workloads.

 

Cloud data centers offer unparalleled flexibility and scalability. At the same time, Software Defined Networking manages traffic, and Infrastructure as a Service deploys whole systems on-demand. 

 

However, not all organizations are convinced. At the same time, according to the Uptime Institute survey in the United States, 58% of respondents think that the public CCS they use is not visible, transparent, and accountable. Therefore, most of the workload remains in corporate data centers. The creation of a solution that will satisfy the requirements of the current need and will be able to adapt to the possibilities of future use is only possible with specialized knowledge. Working with a cloud expert can help design a solution that ensures long-term success.

 

The Modern Data Center

 

Today, enterprise data centers are interconnected through multiple data center types and public and private clouds. This resilience and mobility rely on virtualization, cloud computing, and advanced networks to deliver application workloads everywhere.

 

data center

The Key Components of a Data Center

 

We've answered the question, "What is a data center? Now, let's explore its main components. A data center comprises three main components: computing, storage, and networking. However, this is an oversimplification when discussing the modern data center. Here is a detailed breakdown of the core components of a data center architecture:

 

Facility refers to optimized and environmentally controlled space for IT equipment, maintaining specific temperature and humidity levels.

 

Core Components refer to the hardware and software facilities needed to store and run data in a data center. These include elements such as storage systems, servers, network infrastructure, and applications required to run the hardware, including information security.

 

Support Infrastructure refers to the equipment needed to securely operate the data center and ensure maximum performance.

 

UPS Equipment includes battery packs, generators, and redundant power systems.

 

Environmental Control includes computer room air conditioning, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning and exhaust systems that keep equipment in the data center operating at controlled temperatures.

 

Physical Security includes biometrics or remote monitoring systems to ensure the safe operation of the data center.

 

Data Center Staff are the technical professionals in the data center who are responsible for keeping systems up and running around the clock, including monitoring operations and maintaining IT and infrastructure equipment.

 

What are Data Center Infrastructure Standards?

 

To thoroughly evaluate a data center's capacities, one must examine the array of services it provides to users. Factors such as cooling efficiency, rack density, redundancy measures, uptime guarantees, networking capabilities, security protocols, and adherence to compliance standards categorize data center facilities into various tiers.

 

The ANSI/TIA-942 standard stands out as the predominant benchmark for data center design and infrastructure governance. It aligns with the tier classifications established by the Uptime Institute, offering a comprehensive framework for ensuring operational excellence and reliability.

 

Tier 1 Data Center: Most basic data center with basic site facilities, limited protection for physical disaster recovery, single capacity component and non-redundant distribution paths.

 

Tier 2 Data Center: Redundant capacity components site infrastructure with redundant components and a single non-redundant distribution path for a higher level of physical event protection than tier 1.

 

Tier 3 Data Center: Has a concurrently maintained site infrastructure with redundant capacity components and multiple independent distribution paths. Almost all physical disaster recovery events can be protected against. Removal or replacement of components will not impact user utilization.

 

Tier 4 Data Center: Fault tolerant site infrastructure with redundant capability components and multiple independent distribution paths for concurrent maintenance without interruption during planned and unplanned times.



Why are Data Centers important in Business?

 

In this article, we have detailed what a data center is, the various types of data centers, and what makes a good data center. Now, let's discuss the importance of data centers for business. Here are the benefits of data centers for businesses:

 

Centralized data management

 

One of the main advantages of a data center is the ability to centralize data management. By storing all data in one place, businesses can easily manage and analyze information. This enhances efficiency, minimizes redundant work, and fosters a deeper comprehension of business processes.

 

Scalability

 

Data centers can scale up or down their infrastructure based on demand. This capability is particularly advantageous for firms undergoing rapid expansion or dealing with seasonal variations, as they can adapt storage and processing capacity without the need to construct additional infrastructure.

 

Security

 

Data centers offer high security, protecting sensitive information through multiple layers of measures such as biometric authentication, surveillance cameras, firewalls, and encryption. This ensures peace of mind for organizations worried about data breaches.

 

Redundancy and Disaster Recovery

 

Data centers play a crucial role for businesses with significant reliance on data. They provide redundancy and disaster recovery capabilities to ensure data is always available. Redundant systems prevent downtime, while a disaster recovery plan can quickly restore data during a natural disaster or cyber attack. The QSFPTEK S7600-48TE4Y2Q MLAG switch can help you to achieve device-level redundancy, and build a reliable network architecture.

 

Cost Savings

 

Utilizing data center services can result in significant cost savings. In-house data centers require a significant upfront investment in infrastructure, staffing, and maintenance. By outsourcing to a third-party provider, organizations can reduce capital and operating expenditures by paying only for the services they use and avoiding maintenance and upgrade costs.

 

These advantages underscore the importance of data centers in improving business efficiency, security, and cost-effectiveness.

 

Conclusion

 

In today's data-driven business environment, data centers are critical for managing, storing, and analyzing data efficiently and securely. They offer many benefits, such as centralized data management, scalability, security, redundancy, and cost savings.

Organizations need flexible solutions to meet changing requirements as the need for reliable, high-performance network connectivity to support distributed and resource-intensive workloads increases. Organizations that enhance their IT infrastructures with comprehensive solutions will be successful.

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