In simple words, a data center is a physical facility; companies use to store critical business files, applications and information. It works like a brain of an organisation. A typical service possesses all essential equipment required to process, communicate and store data of digital activities. It’s a physical building often spread over a vast area. Such facilities are built to store and operate IT equipment; they have to maintain uninterrupted power supply along with an efficient cooling system and fast speed internet connection. They have often grouped among mission-critical facilities due to the sensitivity of their final use. Regardless of its size, basic components of this computing facility are same. A standard center consists of a building shell, IT equipment, electrical and mechanical infrastructure.
Below I am sharing few universal components of data center facilities to guide entrepreneurs seeking to rent out storage space to secure sensitive business documents.
Those who are not aware of IT and computing equipment, often assume data centre as a singular entity. In general context, it’s distinct place, which is created to store files in a digital form. Practically it is composed of some technical elements like routers, storage systems, security device, switches and application delivery controllers. Whether it’s an in-house storage facility or it’s a large scale facility, it must possess these technical components. As IT has become an essential component of every business, computing storage has also become a mandatory need for organisations. According to their business needs, enterprises are storing their sensitive records on electronic storage devices to protect it from unauthorised access. IT equipment can be categorised into three components: servers, storage equipment and communication gear.
Servers are the powerful computers that are mounted on the racks. They run the software application.
Communication gear (or networking gear) is responsible for managing all kind of file transfer not only in and out of the storage facility but also between the IT equipment.
Storage equipment is also mounted on racks and stores all data in an encrypted form.
Electrical infrastructure components
Infrastructure facilities include power supply and uninterrupted power supplies UPS, cooling systems, ventilation, backup generators and cabling network to connect servers and computers to external network operators. After considering the continuous power supply requirements, electrical infrastructure is based on utility grid to provide uninterrupted power to keep systems running. The redundant electrical distribution approach ensures that if one power connection is lost, another energy source must be present there to maintain the constant flow of energy. IT equipment of data storage facility always needs current to keep it running 24/7. Automatic Transfer Switches are used for switching the source of power on the grid without interrupting the power flow.
The cooling devices are an essential component of every storage facility. As we all know data storage facilities house a wide variety of heat producing electronic IT equipment like servers, communication gear and storage equipment; it’s necessary to make some suitable arrangements to remove this heat. Prolong exposure to high temperatures will heat up the IT equipment and devices will shut down eventually. Cooling system requires the same redundant approach of electrical supply to maintain low temperatures to keep devices running. Standard cooling systems consist of air conditioners and air handlers. Instead of these conventional cooling devices, evaporators and free cooling systems are also used. The primary reason for installing these cooling devices is to cool down IT equipment and remove excess of heat.
Depending on their needs, companies can either establish primary in-house data storage or several storage facilities in different geographical regions. Flexibility to select desirable physical location allows organisations not only to keep their documents accessible 24/7 but also to protect it from natural disasters like floods, storms and devastations.
When it comes to configuring and architecting data storage facilities, companies should consider few necessary things to do it accurately. Depending on their requirements, they should decide whether they need mirrored data centers in different geographic locations? Should they opt for a private/in-house facility or managed or colocation services? Do they need room for expansion? What kind of physical security is required? These are few necessary things every business owner should consider while setting up a storage facility.
Summary: Data centers are high-tech computing facilities consist of few essential components. Business owners should consider including these components to establish and run their facility successfully.