Introduction to the Data Center

Summary: For those new to the term a data center is a facility that house IT equipment for an organization for themselves or for the purpose of leasing space. The building looks like any ordinary structure or large warehouse and holds mostly servers and supplies power, network and cooling.

For those not familiar with the term, a data center is a facility that houses information technology equipment for a company. Often, those companies lease space and facilities to other organizations. The term data center can refer to a large server room all the way to a complex with a million square feet. Here are the basic parts of a data center:


The outer shell of a data center is no different from any other building. Data centers located in cities or other built-up areas are usually converted buildings. The newer larger data centers look like giant warehouses surrounded by security fencing. A data center only needs as much space as it requires to house the equipment for which is has the infrastructure.


Most of the equipment in a data center are servers. Even companies that rent out rack space in a data center, do so for servers. All the other equipment, from the air conditioners to the network switches for the connectivity, are there to support the servers.


One of the key requirements for most data centers is to have sufficient power from the utility along with at least one backup power source. In addition, there should also be sufficient UPS power to handle a switch from primary to secondary power and then from secondary to generators.


Data center cooling systems are more complex than average home and office air conditioners. However, they operate on the same principles and try to get the heat out of the data center as quickly and as efficiently as possible.

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