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Data Center: Definition, Types, Functions & Components

Last updated: Jan 15, 2024

Data Center: Definition, Types, Functions & Components
Cover image: Illustration of a data center.

What is A Data Center?

A data center is a specially designed room intended to serve as the central storage for data such as corporate information, servers, and other computing resources.

Many companies often utilize it to ensure the availability, accessibility, and security of crucial data. Within this designed room, the collected data can be more easily monitored, identified, and managed in a more structured manner.

This facility serves as a storage medium containing various technical components such as routers, servers, application delivery controllers, switches, and many more.

Those data center components are interconnected and play a crucial role in maintaining the smooth operation of information systems.

In addition, it also functions as a data storage location and plays a crucial role in information security. Some advanced security systems, such as firewalls and intrusion detection, are often implemented to protect crucial data from external threats.

Data Center Types

Now that you understand what is a data center, it's important to be familiar with different types of this facility. 

There are several data center types that you can use to store and manage data, such as

1. Colocation

This type is a space rented by a service provider and comes equipped with supporting infrastructure, such as bandwidth, cooling systems, and security systems.

Typically, clients have full control over their hardware and software, while the colocation provider is responsible for the maintenance and management of the physical facilities.

2. Enterprise

This center is owned and operated entirely by a single company. This type is specifically designed to meet the unique needs of an organization.

For example, Company X may use this type to manage and store their critical data to ensure the security and availability of data at all times.

3. Hyperscale

This type is designed to provide extensive resources to handle massively scalable storage loads. Some examples of large companies that use Hyperscale Data Centers include Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Google, and many more.

Data Center Function

In general, the primary function is to host and store critical company data. However, in addition, this medium also offers several additional functions that are highly beneficial for businesses, such as:

1. Enhancing Database Security

This data hub facility is equipped with various layers of protection, ranging from implementing firewalls to protect against attacks like DDoS to data encryption systems to enhance security levels and prevent suspicious access.

With this storage medium, sensitive data such as customer or financial information is typically end-to-end encrypted, allowing only authorized parties to access and manage the data.

2. Facilitating File and Company Data Sharing

It can also help businesses simplify the file-sharing process to maximize operational efficiency and collaboration among teams.

For example, Employee A with access can quickly open documents or information stored in the data center, even if the team or company branch is located in a different location.

3. Media for Big Data Analysis

In this digital era, many businesses generate and collect vast amounts of data from various sources such as customer transactions, online interactions, sensors, and more.

This data is referred to as Big Data as it is complex, large, and continuously growing over time.

This centralized data set can be used to enrich company resources and maximize insights to support future business decisions.

Therefore every business needs a database center with a large storage capacity and advanced data management technology and can do various types of analyses, including statistical analysis, machine learning, and data mining.

4. Cost Savings

As this facility provides a centralized and professionally managed infrastructure, businesses then can eliminate the need to invest heavily in building and maintaining their server facilities. 

This translates into significant upfront savings, sparing companies the expenses associated with infrastructure development, equipment procurement, and ongoing maintenance.

Data Center Components

This storage space consists of several supporting components, such as:

1. Power Capacity

To operate at maximum capacity, one of these data center components is highly required, especially if the stored data is of substantial size.

This component is typically supported by a stable power supply, such as Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS). 

UPS provides backup power through batteries during power outages to ensure smooth operation and protect data from damage or loss when electricity is disrupted.

2. Storage

As the central data hub, storage is undoubtedly one of the main data center components.

Within this facility, the storage can take various forms, including Hard Disk Drives (HDD), Solid-State Drives (SSD), cloud storage, Network-Attached Storage (NAS), Storage Area Network (SAN), and many more. 

Each type of storage has specific roles and purposes in handling data efficiently.

3. Security System

Another equally important component is the security system. To ensure the security of the data within, this data hub typically employs two security options: physical security and cyber security.

Physical security is useful for data stored in a dedicated room, involving security personnel and periodic access monitoring. 

Cybersecurity, on the other hand, can be maximized by enhancing security layers to protect all data from harmful malware attacks.

4. Cooling System 

This component is essential to ensure optimal storage performance with a stable device temperature.

The cooling system functions to control heat if it experiences a significant temperature increase.

Essentially, it also uses several cooling systems such as chilled water systems, Calibrated Vectored Cooling (CVC), or Computer Room Air Conditioners (CRAC). In general, the choice of a cooling system depends on the size and specific needs of users.

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