by August 4, 2005 0 comments



The term data center brings into mind a picture of highly concealed room spread over acres of land, with organized cabling infrastructure, extreme cooling and just a few guys roaming around wearing white coats. Well, in reality things are slightly different. A data center, in simple terms, is nothing but a place that holds your data and applications. In the early days, there was no term called ‘data center’. There were server rooms and more server rooms. Then came the ‘Dot com’ boom, giving rise to ‘Internet data centers’, which were facilities constructed by ISPs for hosting applications, servers etc for other organizations. Now, the term data center is making rounds in the enterprise world as well. With increased sophistication and consolidation in the server room, they are now started being called data centers (more as a feel good factor perhaps). This sophistication comes from going into great detail during the design stage, taking every minute detail into account including fire protection, air conditioning, airflow, physical security and manageability. 

In short, we can say a data center is a place that keeps your data and applications available at all times. The objective of the humble server room has always been the same as well. So essentially there is no difference between a data center and server room. 

The question now arises as to why focus on the design so much? Well every business today depends almost entirely on information and information systems. It’s the lifeblood of every organization. From there arises the dire need to keep all data in a safe place (safety being both at physical and network level) and available at all times. No organization can afford to have its critical applications going down at any point of time. Hence the reliance on IT infrastructure goes up, leading the organization to have a central, safe location for keeping data and ensuring it’s always available. To ensure safety of data, a data center must have high standards for ensuring its own integrity and functionality, as well as the security and availability of data. Data centers are meant to run businesses-supporting information infrastructure for several years. During this time, there will be a need to manage and maintain the center, and some times these manageability and serviceability concerns become too big to handle, which can lead to interruption of application and data services.

However, better designed and efficiently operated data centers can prove to be highly helpful to your business. So, a data center must incorporate certain key elements. Some of these are: an ideal location, flexibility, scalability, modularity and standardization. We’ve discussed each of these elements in subsequent articles of this story. Plus, we’ve discussed the key elements that go into building a data center, manageability issues and key data center challenges.

Anoop Mangla, Ankit Kawatra, Sanjay Majumder

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