| John Spacey, December 13, 2016 updated on November 01, 2017
A data center is a facility that houses information technology hardware such as computing units, data storage and networking equipment. They are primarily designed to secure information technology resources and keep things up and running with very little downtime. The following are common components of a data center.
Computing HardwareComputing units, data storage devices and other hardware deployed by customers or provided as a service by the data center.
RacksData center hardware is typically mounted into racks that maximize the use of space in the facility. Racks may stretch towards the ceiling leaving just enough room for overhead cable systems, cooling and airflow. Network and security devices that provide foundational services such as internet connectivity.
ConnectivityData centers often have multiple fiber connections to the internet provided by multiple carriers.
FacilityData center buildings may be specifically designed as a data center. For example, the height of ceilings will match requirements for racks and overhead systems. In some cases, a data center occupies a floor of an existing building.
SiteA data center requires a site with connections to grids, networks and physical infrastructure such as roads. Proximity to markets, customers, employees and services also play a role in selecting an appropriate site. Locating data centers in cold climates can reduce cooling costs.
PowerEach machine in a data center may be dual-power provided with the data center having multiple grid connections. As such, the electrical infrastructure in a data center can be quite complex with features for distribution, switching and bypass of power.
Cabling SystemA system for managing the great length of cables that connect each machine in a data center to power, networks, devices and resources. It is common for data centers to have a raised floor for easy access to cables. Alternatively, some cabling systems hang from the ceiling.
UPSUninterruptible power source systems that provide protection from short power outages and unstable power supply such as surges.
Energy Production SystemsA system of backup power such as a generator with fuel storage. It is also common for data centers to have a solar panel system on the roof or nearby.
Environment ControlSystems for cooling hardware and providing heating, ventilation, air conditioning, humidification and dehumidification for the facility. Cooling is a significant element of data center efficiency. Data centers may be specifically designed and operated to minimize the power required to cool equipment.
Fire ProtectionActive systems for fire protection such as smoke detectors and a fire sprinkler system. Passive systems such as fire-resistant barriers may also be used.An area for telecommunications companies to physically connect their networks and exchange traffic.
Physical SecurityData centers are designed for security with few windows and features such as mantraps for access control. They are typically monitored with cameras and may have on-site security guards.
Network Operations Center (NOC)A room for operations staff with tools for monitoring, administering, maintaining and securing computing resources. A NOC may act as first line support that provide service desk, incident management and problem management services.
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