The amount of information that mankind creates is constantly increasing. Experts predict that by 2025, its total volume will reach 163 zettabytes (ZB) - 10 times more than 10 years ago. To process and store such huge amounts of data, there are specialized data processing centers (DCs). This is a room or a complex of buildings where server and network equipment is installed. They play an important role in the modern information industry and have become an integral part of the IT world.
What is DC - decoding in simple words and its purpose
A data center (DC) is an entire infrastructure for processing and storing information. The complex is based on buildings, equipment and special devices. Taking information from a variety of sources on the Internet DC performs its high-quality, efficient placement and processing. Control over the work of all systems and devices in the DC is carried out through monitoring. Special systems monitor equipment status, temperature, power consumption and other parameters to ensure efficient operation of the DC.
A little history
As early as the early 1940s, there was a need for such data centers because the handling and maintenance of computing equipment was complex. The first computing systems required many large components that operators connected with cables. Such systems consumed large amounts of power and required constant cooling. To operate the computers, which were called mainframes, companies put all the equipment in a special room, the data center. Each company paid for and maintained its own DC.
Main DC services
The main purpose of a DC is to create a stable environment for clients' computer systems. Therefore, the functions of data centers are reduced to ensuring reliable and uninterrupted operation of the placed equipment. In addition, all data centers provide secure telecommunication network links through which information is transmitted. In the operation of data centers, most of the costs are spent on ensuring the reliability, security and continuity of the infrastructure.
About DC services in a nutshell
- Renting a server rack, cabinet or the entire DC.
- Physical location of own servers (Colocation).
- IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), which allows the client to get a fully ready IT infrastructure.
- Data backup.
- Server administration.
Who the DC is suitable for
Data center services are usually demanded by large corporate clients, for example, hosting providers can rent powerful servers, which in turn rent them to their clients in the form of shared hosting or VPS.
Data centers also serve private clients by providing fully dedicated servers (Dedicated servers) or space for clients' servers (Colocation).
This is financially advantageous, as DC subscribers do not need to buy separate premises, expensive equipment and hire staff for maintenance.
Pros of using DC for customers
- Provide cost-effectiveness.
- Eliminate the need to create and maintain your own server room.
- Guarantee constant access to data, as well as no outages, connectivity problems or hardware failures.
- Characterized by a high-performance and reliable IT infrastructure consisting of routers, switches, security devices, storage systems, servers, controllers, cooling systems.
- Continuous improvement of data centers promotes the use of the latest technologies and best practices to achieve optimal performance.
How a data center works
The architecture of Data Centers (DCs) can vary. The structure can be supplemented and adapted according to the needs and requirements of a particular organization. Usually, a DC consists of a special building that houses the necessary equipment, as well as the main functional blocks. Several important components can be distinguished in the DC structure.
- Networking equipment: routers and switches that enable communication between different devices in the DC and data transfer between them.
- Servers, workstations and storage systems.
- The most important element is the power supply, which is provided through reliable power sources and generators.
- To prevent overheating in the DC, modern cooling systems are used.
- Access control systems, video surveillance, fire alarms and other security systems ensure that equipment is protected from unauthorized access, domestic threats and the risk of emergencies.
By effectively implementing all engineering systems, data centers can provide services to clients and operate efficiently.
Classification of data centers
You can categorize data centers by purpose:
- Corporate - These DCs are owned by companies and are used for internal purposes, such as storing information about something on their own servers.
- Commercial - these data centers are used to generate revenue. They offer hosting services and cloud projects, and they also provide server rentals and space for third-party server equipment.
DCs are divided into primary and backup DCs according to their purpose:
- Main centers - data transmission, information processing and computing are their main functions.
- Backup centers serve as backup centers and are activated when the primary center fails or requires scheduled maintenance.
Each DC may be:
- small - housed in a single room;
- large - occupying a vast complex of buildings and having significant capacity, it performs a wide range of data processing and storage tasks.
There is also a compact DC that uses mobile modules. It is designed to take up little space while maintaining significant capacity.
How to choose a reliable DC
Quality and reliability are the two most important components when choosing a data center. So, what requirements should a quality and reliable DC meet?
- Uninterrupted power supply is a basic functional requirement for DCs. Reliable backup power sources such as batteries and diesel generators are used in case of emergencies or power outages.
- Utilizing advanced protection measures against external factors (floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, etc.) so that equipment remains securely protected.
- A highly developed and multilevel security system: fenced area, access control system with inspection, video surveillance, access rights management, etc.
- The building should have certain characteristics of walls, materials, dimensions.
- Effective ventilation and heat removal system. It is important not only to provide cooling, but also to maintain an optimal level of humidity and air cleanliness. For example, the presence of dust on the servers in the DC is absolutely unacceptable.
- The company employs professional staff with extensive experience in servicing DC equipment.
DCs are an indispensable component of information infrastructure for government agencies, banks, scientific, trade and manufacturing enterprises. Ordinary people use the power and capabilities of data centers without even knowing it when they send e-mail or visit social networks. Any work in the Internet is unthinkable without data centers.