Data Centers

A data center (or datacenter) is a facility composed of networked computers and storage that businesses or other organizations use to organize, process, store and disseminate large amounts of data. A business typically relies heavily upon the applications, services and data contained within a data center, making it a focal point and critical asset for everyday operations.

Data center architecture and design
Although almost any suitable space could conceivably serve as a "data center," the deliberate design and implementation of a data center requires careful consideration. Beyond the basic issues of cost and taxes, sites are selected based on a multitude of criteria, such as geographic location, seismic and meteorological stability, access to roads and airports, availability of energy and telecommunications and even the prevailing political environment.
Once a site is secured, the data center architecture can be designed with attention to the mechanical and electrical infrastructure, as well as the composition and layout of the IT equipment. All of these issues are guided by the availability and efficiency goals of the desired data center tier.
Energy consumption and efficiency
Data center designs also recognize the importance of energy efficiency. A simple data center may need only a few kilowatts of energy, but an enterprise-scale data center installation can demand tens of megawatts or more. Today, the green data center, which is designed for minimum environmental impact through the use of low-emission building materials, catalytic converters and alternative energy technologies, is growing in popularity.
Data center security and safety
Data center designs must also implement sound safety and security practices. For example, safety is often reflected in the layout of doorways and access corridors, which must accommodate the movement of large, unwieldy IT equipment, as well as permit employees to access and repair the infrastructure. Fire suppression is another key safety area, and the extensive use of sensitive, high-energy electrical and electronic equipment precludes common sprinklers. Instead, data centers often use environmentally friendly chemical fire suppression systems, which effectively starve a fire of oxygen while mitigating collateral damage to the equipment. Since the data center is also a core business asset, comprehensive security measures, like badge access and video surveillance, help to detect and prevent malfeasance by employees, contractors and intruders.
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