3 Main Components of a Data Center Infrastructure

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Written By Berry Mathew

Over the past few years, data centers like Datasite Colo and data center infrastructure have really evolved. Enterprise IT continues to move toward on-demand services, forcing data center infrastructure to shift from on-premises servers to virtualized infrastructure. The virtualized infrastructure aims at supporting various workloads across physical infrastructure and multi-cloud environments.

Data center infrastructure includes core physical components or hardware-based resources contained in a data center environment like IT infrastructure devices, equipment and technologies. It revolves around computers, servers, storage, such as storage area network or backup/tape storage, networking equipment, like routers or switches, security,  like a firewall or biometric security system and data center management software/applications. 

Other non-computing resources, which can also be present, include cables, physical server racks and power and cooling devices, like air conditioners or generators.

3 main components of a data center infrastructure

Computers have had to be miniaturized to accommodate less space after realizing that the functional scope of these machines led to the use of lots of space. From the construction of unique rooms to the reduction in size the aim was to use less space and still have functional computer systems.

 All large-scale operations still have complex IT infrastructure with a huge amount of hardware. Their IT infrastructure has to be housed in well-fitted rooms known as data centers or server rooms. The data centers are mostly run by large companies or government agencies and used to facilitate cloud solution services for both business and private applications. 

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Here is a look at the 3 main components of a data center and why they are vital for your company operations.

  1. Power/ Electrical Infrastructure 

Powering a Data Center is one of the most critical components of a data center. Data center infrastructure such as servers and processors and other pieces of equipment require power to operate. Electricity travels along a power chain from the utility provider to the server inside the data center. A reliable power source is an important factor to consider since one second of power interruption can have significant impacts.

Apart from providing power to the collation equipment via PDU’s, there has to be a backup or a redundant power source in all data centers. Most data centers contain backup electrical infrastructure like Backup generators. The backup power source powers the facility if there is a power interruption in the power supply from the substation and guarantees server and overall service uptime. 

  1. Cooling/ Mechanical infrastructure

The same way a data center requires a proper power supply is the same way it requires a properly functioning cooling system. Digital infrastructures such as servers produce substantial heat when operating. It’s therefore essential to cool them to keep systems online.

Whenever there is no proper ventilation within a data center to balance hot or cold aisles, servers would overheat and eventually cease to function. Overheating usually occurs as a result of poor ventilation. In other cases, it can be caused by having a weak fan to cool the system.

To maintain the temperature of servers and other pieces of computing infrastructure at an optimal temperature and ensure that they don’t overheat, the majority of data centers have an amount of cooling infrastructure.

Also, there is another infrastructure to keep the cooling infrastructure functioning and running smoothly like fans and HVAC equipment like air conditioning units. With a cooling system, a data center can function well preventing your web hosting equipment, colocation servers, and networking gear from overheating. 

The most common way to cool a data center is a raised floor, but this isn’t always necessary. Some data centers place physical barriers to direct cool air toward the servers and hot air away and high ceilings. Increasing the volume of air in a data hall maintains lower temperatures keeping the room from getting too hot. 

Data centers can also utilize another form of cooling called liquid cooling where the servers are placed on racks that are submerged in a special non-conductive fluid. 

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  1. Security

For web and colocation servers to be considered reliable and safe, data centers need a high level of security. Whether the servers are for shared hosting accounts or cloud hosting servers, the data stored in them is vital.

Data centers store extremely valuable and confidential information on their servers, like important business information, banking and credit card information and identity information. Businesses and companies need assurance that the data center they are working with maintains a high level of physical security. This assures them that their information is always safe and protected.

A reliable data center protects data by maintaining surveillance cameras, well-trained on-site security staff, a visitor’s logbook, and a fingerprint access system. Apart from the technological and IT-related security measures, there has to be physical security. This is where the location of the building where the data center is located comes into play. The data center has to be built away from hurricane and tornado paths, known flood zones fault lines.

These are some of the top essential components for a data center infrastructure that customers should be on the lookout for when selecting a data center. Other essentials include connectivity infrastructure and redundancy. 

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As you can see, only one component isn’t sufficient to have the systems running effectively for operations. All these components within a data center are critical. A good data center and data center infrastructure will provide management and dissemination of data, the means for all storage, applications and communications for your business. 

The high levels of security will prevent employees and customers from accessing the servers, storage systems and networking devices that are located in the data center. This will prevent your entire business or organization from being affected as a result. 

Businesses like shipping facilities, banks, airlines, and online brokerages can crash within a few minutes if the IT infrastructure isn’t looked into. A well-set data center infrastructure has a robust infrastructure to ensure there’s no interruption or failure in the services they provide. In turn, this will reduce your risk of downtime lead, lower your total cost of ownership and maximize performance.