A data center is a facility used to house computer systems and associated components, such as telecommunications and storage systems. It generally includes redundant or backup power supplies and diverse network connections.
A typical data center has its space organized as a central warehouse with a raised floor that allows the efficient installation of large air conditioning systems. This “cold aisle” containment increases efficiency by confining heat-producing equipment to an area where outside cooling can be optimized, typically near the ceiling. Further efficiency is gained through the use of free cooling, whereby once-through cool air from outside is pumped into the cold aisle and exhausted again after absorbing heat from passing IT equipment without being recirculated into the rest of the facility’s occupied space.
The terms “data center,” “computer room,” and “server farm” are used to describe special purpose computer facilities in the business world, for more on data centers visit https://www.m1.com.sg/business/products/data-center. They often contain redundant or backup power supplies, diverse network connections, security equipment, environmental controls (e.g., air conditioning and fire suppression) designed to provide availability at least equal to that of a typical office building. By contrast, modern residential computers are rarely shipped with redundant power supplies or cooling systems.
The information technology industry is consolidating the number of data centers worldwide to reduce operating costs by economies of scale while increasing overall effectiveness.
A common practice in data centers is to use N+N designs where the available electrical, physical space cooling capacity is designed for twice the maximum projected server load requirement. This provides two electrical feeds for each server cabinet, allowing for up to four times as much total loading of a rack compared with single-feed designs. The cooling technology or water usage may render the center unsuitable for IT equipment without this capability.
The data center type must match the needs of the applications which it houses.
Datacenter construction is similar to construction on an office building scale, but with a stronger focus on security due to sensitivity of the information held within them, longer expected life spans of components used, and also because of the limitations that are imposed on construction by the requirements of raised-floor environments.
Data centers are often large warehouse-like rooms containing rows upon rows of servers, switches, routers, wiring racks, cooling infrastructure equipment (i.e., uninterruptible power supply systems), and auxiliary equipment needed to keep the center operational. The space in these facilities is usually optimized to handle higher density equipment so that fewer cabinets can accommodate more computing power. As with most computer facilities, heating, ventilating, and air conditioning costs can be significant due to the high heat dissipation rates required for newer, highly efficient hardware designs. Data centers must also have redundant internet access, which means at least two independent paths out of each facility for internet-based connectivity.
Recent environmental concerns have directed focus on reducing energy consumption within the data center, leading to cooling technologies and power infrastructure advancements. Facilities are becoming increasingly designed for reduced PUE (power usage effectiveness) through the use of free cooling systems, facility piping containing chilled water lines that are located above-raised computer flooring to allow for air-cooled server equipment to be mounted closer to the ceiling, etc.