What are The Different Types of Data Centers?
Data centers are huge supercomputers or data storage facilities that contain data from around the world. It’s what you see in movies. But times have changed, and as data centers are at the very core of technology, they are also changing.
In this article, we have covered everything you need to know about data centers, what types of data centers are available, and what benefits you can expect from them.
What Is A Data Center?
The term data center is self-explanatory. There is a facility where all the data is stored, and people can access it from there. It can be a building or a group of buildings where all the data is kept safe, and authorized people can share it via applications or shared networks. The purpose of a data center is to provide applications and data over a web network. Facebook’s Utah datacenter is an example of a data center.
Additionally, it applies to individual organizations. In an organizational data center, sensitive data, IT operations, and equipment come together and are stored, processed, and transmitted to authorized personnel.
An organization’s data center is crucial for its success as it contains all its data and most vital assets. Keeping them safe is of paramount importance.
The Evolution of Data Centers
A data center was formerly a building or a group of buildings that had huge drives or supercomputers used to store all the data. The centers were always out of reach for everyone. It was only available to IT specialists since the rest of the staff could not comprehend it even if allowed access. Because they were supposed to deliver data and applications 24 hours a day, they consumed a lot of power.
These data centers still work for many organizations. They are the oldest and unhackable as they are the property of an organization where no hacker can enter without catching the company’s eye.
But as time changed and cloud technology made its grand entry, the face of data centers has also changed. Now, data is stored on multiple clouds and across virtual networks, which spans a pool of physical infrastructure and can be accessed via internet technology.
Different data centers, public and private clouds, contain the data and provide on-premise and in the cloud data to users. Organizations can use a combination of physical data centers plus the cloud to keep its data safe and provide uninterruptible service.
In small organizations, these data centers are used to share information across the organization, store the ever-increasing data using affordable cloud storage. They do not need to build on-premise data centers, as their needs are small and which cloud-based data centers can fulfill, saving them capital influx in physical infrastructure.
Components Of A Data Center
Every organization has a different need. The data center for every organization is designed based on such needs. The need of an e-commerce operator differs from an FMCG company. Similarly the need of a government organization differs from a service provider company’s needs. But one thing that’s common in data centers is that they require investment in equipment and infrastructure.
A data center is not a standalone computer that saves everything. It requires several components which work alongside each other. It requires designing a reliable and secure data center architecture that can withstand unauthorized entry and any attacks.
The different components which turn a data center into an impenetrable fort are discussed below-
Facility- Not every center is like Citadel Campus, but all of these are energy-consuming campuses that provide the space for IT equipment. These places are run 24*7 to provide seamless connectivity across the globe. These facilities are maintained at a specific temperature and humidity level. Efficiency and environmental control is the prime focus.
Equipment and Software- These include computers, storage systems, servers, etc., which keep the data and applications as well as firewalls, and other security systems which keep the data safe. In addition to these, there are switches, routers, gateways, hubs, and the network infrastructure, which enables data transmission.
Infrastructure- Apart from the building and the servers, there is support infrastructure which keeps all these equipment running. A data centre is supposed to have an uptime of 99.671%-99.996%, which requires uninterrupted power, physical safety, and a controlled environment that is optimum for the equipment, such as ventilation, air conditioning, heating, exhaust, etc.
Personnel- These pieces of equipment are not left alone in a building. They are maintained, and kept safe by trained staff who ensure physical safety and do not allow any unauthorized access.
Types Of Data Centers
A data center varies as per the organization’s requirements. With time, these data centers have changed, and now, there are four types of data centers to discuss. The functions are all the same, but the difference lies in the way they are managed.
1. Colocation Data Centers
These are the data centers managed by an organization outside the company premises in a third-party data center where it rents the space and places all its equipment. In simple words, it means hiring a separate space for your in-house data center. The other company gives you the space, and you can situate your data center there. The repairs and maintenance are performed at the separate premises where the equipment are placed. The data center is accessed remotely. But it may be time-consuming sometimes for the staff to visit the data center if it is located at quite some distance.
2. Enterprise Data Centers
The enterprise data center is a group of data centers that exist within an organization. They are created for a singular purpose and perform designated key functions. They are of three types- internet, intranet, and extranet.
Internet data centers are the data center group that encompasses the servers and devices required for ecommerce web applications. These servers are completely detached physically from the network apart from the intranet data center.
Intranet data centers include the infrastructure that keeps services and applications and performs several support functions to effectively operate the core functions.
Extranet data centers are the backbone for B2B transactions within the enterprise via VPN or private WAN.
3. Managed Data Centers
Unlike colocation data centers, managed data centers are the ones that give you space plus all required infrastructure for your data center. They own the place as well as the equipment, software, and other assets. You don’t have to worry about the maintenance or employing any staff.
4. Cloud Data Centers
Cloud means internet. In simple words, a cloud data center is the data center that is managed by a cloud service provider. The data is stored off-premises on the cloud. The major service providers are Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, IBM Cloud, etc.
These are the different types of data centers, and an organization can choose one which suits it best.
Benefits Of Data Centers
The use of technology has become a necessity for organizations around the world, and data centers are no exception. IT infrastructure and a network are not sufficient to run a business. Data centers ensure the security of company data, which is of paramount importance. An organization can benefit from a data center in the following ways.
1. Security Of Data
Earlier dedicated servers, hard drives, etc., were used to save data. They were prone to being stolen or getting lost. Data centers are far more reliable than the traditional storage methods, which were the easy victims of cyberattacks. Incorporating security measures and firewall is one of the preliminary steps of setting up a data center, making it impenetrable.
2. Protecting Power
Companies that manage data storage on-site are well aware of the losses they bear because of the power outage and broadband issues. Losing power unexpectedly, even for a second, can create chaos. Data centers are designed in a way to provide seamless power which runs 24*7 without a hiccup. It keeps the data more secure.
3. Increased Efficiency
A data center requires its own power supply. It does not share its power source with any other entity, unlike companies that share the same power grid. It causes fluctuations in voltage which affects the performance significantly. By using a data center, companies can witness increased efficiency.
4. Cutting Power Cost
The date canters power supply mechanisms are designed in such a way that can survive the most unfavorable power conditions. Plus, it requires more to start up and maintain generators and surge suppressors as they can only stand for a certain time. It costs billions to US companies every year. With uninterrupted power supply sources, these costs are controlled.
Some technologies are worth adapting, especially those which are economically feasible for your organization. The data center is one option available to organizations for securing their data. An in-house data center or outsourcing arrangement can greatly assist organizations in meeting their data security needs.
As most activities are now conducted online, such as meetings, events, shopping, gyming, competitions, etc., the need for data centers has grown manifold post pandemic. Organizations of all sizes have realized the importance of data centers, making them a reliable and efficient technology for data security.