What is a Data Center?

“Being connected to the cloud” and “data security” are common phrases these days. But have you ever wondered what the cloud actually is? What about where all your data goes? While we like to imagine the cloud as something intangible floating around in the sky, it’s actually located in a physical facility known as a data center. 

What is a Data Center?

A data center is a facility that houses an organization’s IT operations, data and equipment. They are usually located in large buildings that can be found anywhere around the world. There are two types of data centers, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce:

  • Enterprise: Think of these like data centers dedicated to the corporations they belong to. These are owned by large tech companies such as Google, Yahoo and Amazon. 
  • Colocation: These data centers offer businesses a secure space to host their servers and data. In a sense, it’s like cohabitation for your servers. 

Within a colocation data center, there are two primary services available for businesses: 

  • Managed Colocation: For this service, you will be able to host your server at the data center as well as have on-site engineers monitor and manage your equipment.
  • Colocation: Colocation allows you to house your servers at the data center. All management of servers would be your responsibility.  

The Data Center and Cloud

It’s commonly asked how a data center relates to the cloud; The cloud actually lives in the data center, and they each have different purposes. Colocation data centers serve numerous roles including: 

  • Server Hosting: For companies that are looking to place their servers in secure facilities, data centers serve as ideal environments with security, temperature control. redundancy and power. 
  • Powering and supporting online gaming: With online games becoming more sophisticated, they require a lot more bandwidth to run. Data centers are ideal to host game servers to keep processes smooth. 
  • Cryptocurrency mining: Chances are, in the majority of data centers there are servers working to find new cryptocurrency or add them to the blockchain. 

With the cloud you’re specifically referring to is a storage located in a data center. So whenever you store a photo on the cloud, it’s actually living on a storage server. And this is similar to where data travels and lives; when you’re submitting data to a website, it lives on a database server in a data center.

Components of a Data Center

Many different components make up a data center in order to maximize its functionality. They include;  

Facility

The facility is the actual data center building. Facilities are built to fit the strict security and environmental standards that efficiently and securely run a data center.

Cabinets
Cabinets are enclosed units that house IT equipment and servers. Within a cabinet, there are units. This is a standard measure of data center space. Units start in low measurements of 1U and higher. Most data center providers will provide as little as 1U to a whole rack. 

Cabling
The writing infrastructure of the data center, cables are the lifeline of data centers. They ensure power, keep networks connected and run across all devices. Most data center providers will support fiber and CAT-5 or higher. 

Uninterruptible Power Source (UPS)

The UPS in a data center reinforces protection if a primary power source goes out. A UPS consists of battery packs with surge protection.

Staging Room

Staging rooms serve as ideal areas for IT and engineers that need to troubleshoot and repair their server and equipment.  

Storage Room

For clients that may not be close to a data center or require special equipment, storage rooms provide extra storage for tools and equipment

Data Center Security 

Every data center facility holds a standard of security for protection. Here are different tiers of security explained below: 

  •     Tier I: 99.671% availability with no more than 1729 minutes of downtime annually and zero redundancy 
  •     Tier III: 99.741% uptime with a partial redundancy in power and cooling operations
  •     Tier III: 99.982% uptime with 95 minutes of downtime annually with N+1 redundancy 
  •     Tier IV: 99.995% uptime with  2N + 1 fully-redundant infrastructure with 26 minutes of downtime a year

Beyond the tiers, there are other unique security features a facility might enable — think controlled environments, on-site security staff and mantraps. To discover more unique features, download our free Data Center comparison guide, which includes a checklist for you to complete.

Data Centers and Your Business

For many organizations, hosting servers in a data center facility is a cost-effective, secure way to keep their network up and running, no matter what. And the advantages don’t just stop there. 

Besides being a secure area for businesses to host servers and store data, there are many different reasons people and businesses use data centers, which include:

  • Scalability
  • Quality of Service
  • Guaranteed Continuity
  • Outsourcing Maintenance
  • Uptime
  • Low Latency

While all these factors are important, there are other factors to consider such as geography, scalability and accessibility. Consider more factors you should be aware of in 10 Features to Look For in a Data Center. From there you’ll be able to feel confident in choosing the right data center for your business. 

Our data centers at TelNet Worldwide offer a unique array of features to accommodate security and storage. If you would like to take a tour, Contact us Today!

Lauren Bronston

Lauren is a Content Writer and SEO Specialist for TelNet Worldwide. When she’s not diving into data centers or SIP Trunking, Lauren writes TV scripts and builds music playlists for fun.

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