What is a data center? Types, issues and challenges

Data centers are used to store and manage applications and data, making them an essential component to business operations. 

In this article, we’ll discuss what defines a data center, why a data center is important, the core components of a data center, how they operate, the standards for data center infrastructure, the types of data centers that exist, data center design issues, and the key challenges faced by data centers. 

What defines a data center? 

A data center is a facility that houses computer systems and related components, including storage, server and network systems, in a highly controlled environment. These facilities are designed to ensure that critical data is stored and processed in a secure, reliable, and highly available manner. Modern data centers also provide cloud services, enabling businesses to access computing resources and data storage on-demand over the internet. 

Why are data centers important to business? 

Data centers are essential to businesses that rely heavily on technology to make informed decisions and to run their operations, because they are responsible for storing and processing critical data. Data centers also ensure that data is available to authorized personnel at all times, and that it’s protected from unauthorized access, theft, and other cyber threats. 

What are the core components of a data center? 

The core components of a data center include storage systems, servers, network infrastructure, support infrastructure, power and cooling, and security systems. 

Storage systems are used to store data, while servers are used to process data. Network infrastructure is used to provide connectivity between different components, while support infrastructure is used to provide services such as power and cooling. Security systems are used to protect data from the previously mentioned cyber threats. 

How do data centers operate? 

Data centers operate by providing a controlled environment in which computer systems and related components can be housed. They are designed to ensure that critical data is stored and processed in a secure, reliable, and highly available manner. Data centers typically operate 24 hours a day without interruption, and they are monitored and maintained by a team of skilled professionals to ensure that they operate smoothly and efficiently. 

What are the standards for data center infrastructure? 

There are several standards for data center infrastructure, including the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). These standards provide guidelines for data center design, construction, and operation. 

Types of data centers 

There are several types of data centers, including enterprise data centers, colocation data centers, managed services data centers, cloud data centers, and edge data centers. 

Let’s take a look at how they differ from each other: 

Enterprise data centers are owned and operated by the organization that uses them. 

Colocation data centers are owned and operated by a third-party provider that offers data center services to multiple clients. 

Managed services data centers are owned and operated by a third-party provider that offers managed services to clients. 

Cloud data centers are owned and operated by a cloud services provider. 

Edge data centers are small data centers that are located closer to end-users, providing low-latency connectivity for cloud applications and services. 

Data center design issues 

As complex assemblies of technological assets, there are certain factors that must be considered when designing a data center, including: 

  • Power and cooling: They are critical to ensuring that data center equipment operates efficiently. 
  • Storage infrastructure: It is important for data storage and retrieval. 
  • Support infrastructure: This includes fire suppression and backup power, to ensure safety and continuity in the data center.  
  • Security systems: To protect data from unauthorized access and other cyber threats. 

Key challenges faced by data centers 

Security is a major challenge for data centers, as they must protect sensitive data from cyber threats such as hacking, malware, and phishing attacks. 

Power and cooling are also important challenges, as data centers require significant amounts of energy to operate, and they generate a considerable amount of heat which must be effectively dispersed to avoid disruptions caused by overheating. 

Data center modernization is another challenge, as older data centers may not be equipped to handle modern computing requirements. Regular upgrades to a data center’s components are not unusual, whether the aim is to increase processing power, general efficiency, storage capacity, or something else. 

For this same reason, storage systems are an ongoing challenge, as the amount of data that needs to be stored continues to grow at an exponential rate. 

The demand for processing power, too, keeps growing as the hottest trends in IT, machine learning and artificial intelligence, require great amounts of computational capacity. 

A crucial aspect that has a great impact on a data center’s continued performance is its maintenance. This involves everything from timely repairs to preventive maintenance, upgrades and more. While OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) often stop servicing their equipment past set EOSL (End Of Service Life) dates, TPM (Third-Party Maintenance) providers like Evernex can extend the life of servers and other pieces of hardware for much longer and at a lower cost.

Moreover, Evernex TPM offers the great convenience of consolidating all maintenance contracts into a single one no matter how many different brands make up your organization’s data center. As your single point of contact, Evernex helps greatly reduce the amount of work and time that needs to be devoted to monitoring, contacting and dealing with several vendors regarding their machines. 

And with its enormous stock of spare parts, known as its SPaaS™ (Spare as a Service) offering, Evernex gives you the peace of mind of knowing that the parts you need will get to you quickly, avoiding delays, parts scarcity and even the problem of accessing parts that are no longer being manufactured. 

With fully-tested and guaranteed parts, Evernex helps data centers keep performing at the highest level and avoid costly downtime. 

For other data center requirements, Evernex also offers IMAC (Install, Move, Add, Change) services. With 40 years of experience, multi-vendor expertise and state-of-the-art facilities, Evernex is a trusted partner of thousands of organizations when they need to upgrade, maintain or move their entire data center. 

Contact us to learn more. 

 

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