With data centers seemingly popping up everywhere today, many people question exactly what their purpose is. In short, a data center is a facility that houses computing and networking equipment. These facilities can be virtually any size and have many different features depending on what type of equipment is operating within. Data centers have existed almost as long as computing equipment. Very early computers operated in dedicated areas to help protect them from dust, contaminants, and other hazards. In many ways, these facilities were the first data centers. Today, data centers are much different than they were years ago, and they continue to evolve as technology advances.
Data Center Sizes
When most people think of data centers, they picture massive rooms with endless rows of server racks, computer equipment, and servers. These huge facilities are common for major companies like Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and others. In addition, there are some companies that offer data center floor space as a service so that smaller companies can have the benefits of a world-class facility without the high costs.
On the other hand, some data centers are quite small. Many businesses will set aside a specific room, or even a closet, in which to house their servers, networking, and telecom equipment. As long as the room houses these types of things, it can be a data center. There is also a major trend toward the use of modular data centers. These facilities are convenient and portable while still achieving normal data center capacity.
Advantages of Data Centers
Data centers offer many advantages compared to simply keeping computer equipment in different locations where it is needed. The following are some of the most significant benefits of owning or renting space in a data center:
- Physical Security – Modern data centers are built with security in mind. For larger facilities, this will include security guards, external fencing, biometric access cards, security cameras, and much more.
- Temperature Control – Computer equipment operates best within set temperature ranges and can be damaged if it gets too hot. Data centers are equipped with large-scale air-cooling units to help keep the center at a desirable temperature.
- Humidity Control – Computer equipment also needs to operate at a set humidity level to avoid problems. Keeping one large area at a set humidity level is much easier than trying to accomplish that in every room.
- Centralized Locations – Having all the equipment in one centralized location makes it easier to access for the users. Running fiber-optic or other high-speed cables to one area is also more affordable than having cables traced to different locations.
- Access to Electricity – Modern computer equipment requires a large amount of reliable electricity. Data centers are able to meet that need, and typically have large generators to decrease the risk of power outages.
- Convenient Support – Keeping all the essential computer equipment in one area makes it easier to support. A smaller team of technicians can be present to replace failed hardware, install new devices, and perform other needed work.
- Cable Management – In most data centers the networking and electrical cables will be run either under the floor or up in the ceiling. These cables then run into a server rack, and finally into each individual device. This cable management helps to avoid problems and maximize network uptime.
Of course, there are many other advantages to housing equipment within a data center. Whether a company chooses to design its own facility that will be used only for their equipment or to lease space within a third-party location, data centers are essential. There are thousands of data centers located around the world, and people build new ones all the time. As technology continues to grow and develop, the demand for these types of facilities is only going to increase. RackSolutions hopes to continue to provide key products to help grow your future data center.