A data center typically has four components. Facility space, core hardware components, support infrastructure, and operations staff. Facility space includes all the building and other space required for operational efficiency. Core components include server racks, specialized flooring, NOCs (network operations centers), cable trays, etc. Support infrastructure is the equipment needed to maintain the highest levels of uptime. This includes uninterruptible power supplies (UPS), battery banks, diesel generators, substations, solar panels, HVAC systems, pollution control systems, and fire suppression systems. Operations staff are required to monitor and maintain all the data center equipment, safety & security, and other auxiliary functions.
Most data centers offer colocation services in which shared or private cabinet space is offered where businesses can place their IT equipment like switches, routers, and servers. Bigger data centers offer private cages and suites as well. Private suites are like giant private spaces within those data centers where businesses can place their cabinets and hardware according to their requirements. Data centers provide all the power, cooling, and connectivity services.
Moreover, data centers also provide bare metal servers. They are physical servers dedicated to a single tenant. The server’s users can optimize the server according to their availability, performance, and security needs. The alternative to a bare metal server is a hypervisor server, in which multiple users share a virtual server’s compute, storage and other resources.
In managed services, the data center will monitor and handle your hardware colocated on their premises. In the unmanaged category, you, as a business owner, are responsible for managing your hardware.
Businesses are increasingly dependent on data for improving their service delivery and financial performance. This has led to the phenomenal growth of the data center industry. Governments worldwide incentivize the sector with generous tax breaks and exemptions, especially for those data centers powered by green energy. Technological developments are turbocharging this trend. Some of them are:
Cloud Storage: More and more applications are being set up and used in the cloud. Financial costs are reduced while productivity is increased, manifolds which have led to the development of huge colocation cloud-based data centers.
Internet-of-Things: IoT demands a high amount of computing and storage resources, leading to a growing need for data centers.
Submarine Cable projects: The world is connected using several submarine cable projects. These cables bring high-speed internet to far-flung areas where data centers act like distribution hubs.
Different agencies use different metrics to ascertain the costs of data centers. Some use cost per square foot, while others may use cost per megawatt (MW) capacity. You must know that the infrastructure costs take the bulk of the costs. This includes power generation and distribution framework (switchgear, UPS, diesel generators, HVACs etc.) Assuming a 100,000-square-foot facility, the cost per square foot comes between $280 and $350.
When it comes to cost/MW, the typical estimate for an enterprise data center cost is around $10 million and $12 million per megawatt. These costs are typically front-loaded onto the first few Megawatts and continue to decrease.
Data centers don’t have unlimited power availability. As soon as your data center starts reaching its capacity limits, there will be a need for power management techniques. Otherwise, energy costs will soon get out of control, and running the whole data center will become financially unviable. Data center power management is a way the energy efficiency of the whole facility is improved. Specialized software is available to calculate and optimize your data center power requirements. It can identify racks consuming excess power and other utilization trends for a better operation. Most of them are part of the larger data center infrastructure management (DCIM) software. Some examples are NetZoom, Sunbird, and DCIMPro.
Data center safety and security are crucial for their operation. Data center safety includes fire suppression and detection systems, water leakage detection and control systems, overheat protection mechanisms, dust and pollution control, rodent control systems etc.
Data center security includes both physical and cyber security frameworks. Crucial data centers have tight perimeter security with armed guards and 24*7 support staff, while others may have just one shift of support staff. Biometric identification systems for data center and colocation partner employees are important for physical security. On the other hand, cyber security includes penetration testing, security hardware setup, security audit, logging, and backup of system trails.
Currently, USA and China have the largest data centers in the world. The Citadel, located in Tahoe Reno, Nevada, USA, is the largest data center campus in the world. It is owned by Switch and covers an area of 7.2 million square feet. Switch also owns the third-largest data center globally called the SuperNap, located in Las Vegas, Nevada. The world’s second-largest data center is located in Hebei, China, and is owned by Range International Group. It covers an area of 6.3 million square feet. DFT data center occupies an area of 3.5 million sq. ft., owned by DuPont Fabros Tech, is the fourth largest data center with an area of 1.6 million sqft. It is located in Ashburn, Virginia. Over recent years, the Ashburn area has become a big data center market.
ASHRAE stands for American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers. It frequently releases standards and guidelines for achieving minimum energy efficiency in the design and operation of data centers. ASHRAE and its members are dedicated to promoting a healthy and sustainable built environment.
3D data center visualization enables data center designers and operators to remotely view a data center in 3 dimensions. With the increasing size and proximity of data centers to load centers, there is an ever-growing need to remotely monitor critical operational aspects. With a simple click on a web browser, you can see all the data center corridors, racks, and other items of interest. A peek inside a cabinet elevation placed in a data center located hundreds of kilometers away is easy. This allows you to monitor power and environmental data sensors with the utmost convenience and tweak the necessary controls as and when required.