Never before has the sheer quantity and quality of information about everything ever been able to be known and stored, as it is today. The global community in size alone is massive, sure, but with technology, things are changing, and the world is in fact, small after all.
The way we do business is also changing. Paper filing systems are fast becoming a thing of the past, and there’s no office boy running around making sure everyone gets the memo before the big meeting.
So how are we able to store masses of data and have everyone in the company have access to the same information at the same time? How do we get employees to communicate with each other on the same platform and keep up to date with what’s going on? Learn more about Data Centres.
In this article, we hope to provide you with easy-to-process facts so that you can learn more about Data Centres.
What is a Data Centre?
A data centre is a facility made up of computers that are networked, business storage systems, and their computing infrastructure which they use to organise, process, store and spread vast amounts of data.
In other words, the facility itself centralises an organisation’s shared Information Technology (IT) operations and equipment so that the company data and applications can be stored, processed, and disseminated.
A Data Centre is absolutely vital to the smooth running of an organisation’s daily operations because it houses their very important, and personal (as in belonging to them) assets.
Data centres also often include backup parts or components and security devices in the unfortunate event of a system failure, which shows just how important IT operations are to modern businesses.
So you can see how such businesses are heavily reliant on the application, services, and data contained within the centre, which makes it a critical asset to such organisations.
Who uses Data Centres?
This is a good question! Technically, any company/organisation (let’s call them entities) that generates or uses data need Data Centres on some level. Think big, go beyond private companies, corporations, and further still!
Even government agencies, educational bodies or institutions, telecommunications companies, financial institutions, and even retailers of all sizes. Don’t stop there! Even companies that purvey online information and provide social networking services, like Google, Facebook, Instagram, Tinder, etc.
All of these entities need fast and reliable access to their data, without which they are unable to provide vital services to their customers, which will result in poor customer satisfaction and total doom with loss of revenue. We simply cannot have that!
Time is the one thing we never get more of. It is forever lost into the past. It marches on. It waits for no man. Therefore, the speedier, the more secure access to data entities have, the greater the chances of continued success in the global economy.
How do Data Centres work?
Data Centre facilities enable entities to collect and pool their resources and infrastructure for data processing, storage, and communications (as mentioned earlier). They do this by:
- Providing systems that store, share, access, and process data across the organisation.
- Providing physical infrastructure (buildings) to support data processing and communications, such as:
- Servers, storage subsystems, networking switches, firewalls, and routers
- Cables and physical shelves or racks to organise and connect IT equipment
- Providing utilities like cooling, electricity, access to networks, and uninterruptible power supplies (UPS).
With the ability to collect and pool all their resources in a data centre, companies are able to:
- Protect their personal systems and data
- Centralise their IT, their data processing employees, their contractors, and vendors.
- Create and apply information security controls for their personal systems and data.
All of these demand a physical facility, with actual security access control and enough square footage to house an entity’s entire collection of infrastructure and equipment.
It’s like having your own mega digital Moneypenny on steroids. Nothing gets past her and she knows exactly what’s going on with who, when, and where. What a bonus!
What types of Data Centres are there?
Let’s look at the five main types of Data Centres out there, which provide unique services that meet an entity’s needs.
Such a Data Centre is also known as a “Carrier Hotel”. It’s a type of data centre where you rent/hire equipment, space, and bandwidth from whoever owns the place. This is great because you don’t have to cough up the capital to set up your own and you’re not having to deal with maintenance headaches.
This kind of Data Centre is fully company-owned and is used to process their internal data and host their mission-critical applications, i.e. those things the company needs to run without hitch in order to keep the flow of business at peak, you know?
This is a virtual Data Centre, in the cloud. You get one of these by choosing to use third-party cloud services. It’s similar to Colocation in that you’re renting space, but different in that you pick and choose the services you want without having to rent the hardware and configure it yourself.
- Edge Data Centre
This is a smaller Data Centre that is as close (in proximity) to the entity or company as possible. So, instead of having one massive data centre somewhere in the world or cloud, you can have multiple smaller ones to reduce latency (the reaction speed of your internet connection) and lag (the delay between an operations command and response). Remember? Time is money.
- MicroData Centre
This is an Edge Data Centre pushed to the max. Basically, it can be the size of a small office and only hand the data processed in a specific region.
The elements of a Data Centre are normally divided into three categories, namely:
- Enterprise or entity data storage
And while Data Centres are not defined by their physical size, style, or location as such, they are generally defined by their various levels of reliability and resilience. This is where Tiers come in.
Each tier is intended to provide more resilience, security and reliability than the previous tier. The higher the tier, the more rock-star the Data Centre. What helps to differentiate the tiers also is available resources, data centre capacity and uptime guarantees.
The Uptime Institute defines data centre tiers like this:
- Tier I – most basic data centre with a UPS. Should guarantee at least 99.671% uptime.
- Tier II – these include system, power and cooling redundancy and guarantee 99.741% uptime.
- Tier III – provide partial fault tolerance, 72 hours of outage protection, full redundancy and a whopping 99.982% guarantee of uptime.
- Tier IV – first off; a guarantee of 99.995% uptime, or no more than 26.3 minutes of downtime in an entire year! Forget sleeping. You’ll sleep when you’re dead! Not only that, but full fault tolerance, system redundancy and 96 hours of outage protection (as if the Data Centre would even dare).
As with all things, there are plenty of Data Centre Companies or DataCenter services out there. As a matter of interest, you can click on the link below to an article that discusses the top 11 best in the world today.
Top 11 BEST Data Center Companies | Datacenter Services In 2022
It is interesting to note that the top Data Centre company in the world is Equinix. A company that has 214 centres across 24 countries in the world and provides the most (5) services to their customers. This brings us neatly to the next point.
What types of services do Data Centres provide?
Using Equinix as our prime example, as part of the Beeks Group they have data centres in London, Tokyo, Singapore and New York and provide comprehensive services such as:
- On-demand computing
- With dedicated servers
- And virtual private servers (VPS)
- Trading infrastructure
- Exchange and execution
- Colocation hosting
- Microwave and PTP
- Cloud management
- Private, proximity, hybrid and public
- Wide area network
- Private network
- Cross connects
Why are Data Centres important?
Let’s be honest; data management is critical for any company wanting to improve its “business agility”. Data Centres allow for information to be up-to-date, available anywhere, and at any time to the employees who need it the most.
With the ever-expanding global online market, the need for data gathering, capturing, storing and processing is becoming undeniably one of the most important aspects of successful online business practice.
Faced with this reality, businesses are having to change the way they work if they want to keep up with the market. Competition is tough. People want what they want and they want it now.
Data Centres provide a way for us to give people what they want. They provide opportunities for growth, which means jobs, which means economies grow.
In conclusion, Data Centres are necessary and important, because well, everyone uses data.