A data center — also known as a datacenter or data centre — is a facility composed of networked computers, storage systems and computing infrastructure that businesses and 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.
Enterprise data centers increasingly incorporate facilities for securing and protecting cloud computing resources, as well as in-house, on-site resources. As enterprises increasingly turn to cloud computing, the boundaries between cloud providers’ data centers and enterprise data centers become less clear-cut.
With a cloud data center, the actual hardware is managed and run by the cloud company in question, often with the help of a third-party managed services provider. Clients then run their applications and manage their data within a virtual infrastructure that runs on the cloud servers. Some cloud providers even offer smaller, customized clouds to clients, giving them singular access to their own cloud environment. These are called private clouds, in contrast to public clouds offered by the major cloud players (Amazon, Microsoft, IBM, Google, etc.). Essentially, organizations that want to maintain more control over their environments, but still want the benefits of a cloud solution, often turn to private clouds.
Why are data centers important?
Data centers support almost all computation, data storage and business applications for the enterprise. To the extent that the business of a modern enterprise is run on computers, the data center is the business.
Data centers enable organizations to concentrate their processing power, which in turn enables the organization to concentrate their:
- IT and data processing personnel
- computing and network
- connectivity infrastructure &
- computing facility security.
Data center design often varies based on cloud providers offering the service and/or the needs of individual enterprise customers. Regardless of individual cases, data center infrastructure typically includes routers, switches, firewalls, storage systems, servers, and application delivery controllers. These components work together to provide access to applications supporting business operations and spread out workloads across a variety of machines to ensure efficient operation. Taken together as a whole, the infrastructure of a data center provides users with:
Network infrastructure to connect data center servers (both physical and virtualized), services, storage, and external connectivity to end-users.
Storage infrastructure dedicated to storing and managing data users require for daily operations.
Servers process, provide memory space, local storage, and network connectivity that drives applications for businesses.
How Reliable Is a Data Center Facility?
Business owners are in constant need of reliability when in terms of maintaining a smooth operation. Good thing that a Data center is built to withstand a 24/7 service easily. However, the components require a significant amount of infrastructure support in both hardware and software areas.
These include power subsystems, stable and uninterruptible power supplies, proper ventilation, high-quality cooling systems, fire suppression, reliable backup generators, and connections to external networks.
The business world is moving at an incredibly fast pace that matches the overwhelming demand for information. With the ever-changing requirements of the modern business model, many companies place their confidence in data centers, as these facilities play a crucial role in reaching their IT specifications.
Cloud Data Center vs Traditional Data Center
With a traditional Data Center, you will have to make various purchases, including the server hardware and the networking hardware. Not only is this a disadvantage in itself, you will also have to replace this hardware as it ages and gets outdated. Moreover, in addition to the cost of purchasing equipment, you will also need to hire staff to oversee its operations.
When you host your data on cloud servers, you are essentially using someone else’s hardware and infrastructure, so it saves up a lot of financial resources which might have been used up while setting up a traditional Data Center. In addition, it takes care of various miscellaneous factors relating to maintenance, thus helping you optimize your resources better.
A traditional Data Center allows you flexibility in terms of the equipment you choose, so you know exactly what software and hardware you are using. This facilitates later customizations since there is nobody else in the equation and you can make changes as you require.
With cloud hosting, accessibility may become an issue. If at any point you don’t have an Internet connection, then your remote data will become inaccessible, which might be a problem for some. However, realistically speaking, such instances of no Internet connectivity may be very few and far between, so this aspect shouldn’t be too much of a problem. Moreover, you might have to contact your cloud services provider if there’s a problem at the backend – but this too shouldn’t take very long to get resolved.
Traditional Data Centers have to be protected the traditional way: you will have to hire security staff to ensure that your data is safe. An advantage here is that you will have total control over your data and equipment, which makes it safer to an extent. Only trusted people will be able to access your system.
Cloud hosting can, at least in theory, be more risky – because anyone with an internet connection can hack into your data. In reality, however, most cloud service providers leave no stone unturned to ensure the safety of your data. They employ experienced staff members to ascertain that all the required security measures are in place so that your data is always in safe hands.
Building your own infrastructure from scratch takes a lot of input in both financial as well as human terms. Among other things, you will have to oversee your own maintenance as well as administration, and for this reason it takes a long time to get off the ground. Setting up a traditional Data Center is a costly affair. Further, If you wish to scale up your Data Center, you might need to shell out extra money, albeit unwillingly.
With cloud hosting, however, there are no upfront costs in terms of purchasing equipment, and this leads to savings which can later be used to scale up. Cloud service providers have many flexible plans to suit your requirements, and you can buy more storage as and when you are ready for it. You can also reduce the amount of storage you have, if that’s your requirement.
Data centers are more than just a safe and secure facility with space that is equipped with reliable power, and network. They are becoming a valuable addition to many businesses as they prove to be a dependable extension of their IT team. That is why data centers in modern business set up are increasingly becoming an indispensable factor for success.