What are the main components of a data center?

Inside of a data center

Over time, the usage of data is increasing exponentially. For on-time availability of online data and applications, the number of data centers is also increasing. If you already have a basic idea of a data center, you may know a data center is a structure that houses an organization’s shared IT operations and equipment to store, process, and distribute data and applications. Data centers are important to the continuity of everyday operations since they store an organization’s most critical and proprietary assets.

The requirements and architectures of a data center can differ considerably. For example, a data center built for a government facility may store classified data for a dedicated purpose. Whereas commercial data center facilities built by cloud service providers like Google and Amazon can store data and provide cloud service and maintain different levels of security, infrastructures, power backup systems, and so on. Therefore, the components of the data centers can vary significantly based on the purpose, size, and tier of the data centers. Regardless of the purpose, size, and data center tiers classification, the design of data centers needs to be optimized by investments for the facility and the equipment it consists of.

Here is the list of the core components with a brief description of a data center:

1. Overall Facility – The overall facility consists of the usable space available for IT equipment, support infrastructure, heating system, cooling system, power supply system, round-the-clock monitoring system, security system, and administrative systems. In addition, there may have space for the storage area of emergency consumables such as power cables, network cables, etc. As the data centers are one of the most power density facilities, therefore, the optimization of the power consumption and space, including data center space is a vital issue during the design of the overall facility.

2. IT components – The IT components of data centers consist of computing hardware, racks, storage systems, servers, networking systems, routers, switches, and various security elements, such as firewalls. In addition, data centers also consist of security surveillance systems, and data center operation and monitoring systems.

3. Support infrastructure – The typical uptime of four tiers data centers ranging from 99.671% to 99.995% is defined by the Uptime Institute. Therefore, the support infrastructure of the data centers needs to ensure the highest possible availability. for equipment contributing to securely sustaining the highest availability possible. Some components for supporting infrastructure include:

  • Environmental control – To control the temperature, humidity, and airflow in the data center there consists of a computer room air conditioner (CRAC) unit, computer room air handling (CRAH) unit, and exhaust systems.
  • Uninterruptible Power Sources (UPS) – To maintain the uninterruptible power in the facility there consist of battery banks, backup diesel generators, and redundant power sources.
    • Physical security systems – For the physical security of the data centers there consist of video surveillance systems, and biometric authentication systems.

4. Operations & Maintenance Team – To maintain round-the-clock operation the data center also has data center operators, technicians, and network engineers to monitor operations and maintain IT and infrastructure equipment. It also works for incident management, front-line support for firefighting, administrative works, service works, etc.

These are the major components of data centers. However, there are also additional components that are also very important for the smooth operation of a data center. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to write them down.

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Nazrul

About the author of the website: I am AKM Nazrul Islam, currently working in Japan. I have achieved a Master of Science (M.Sc) in Mechanical Engineering from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET). Out of my 12 years of working experience, I worked in the thermal power industry for 7 years, renewable energy industry for 2 years, and research university for 3 years. I have low voltage, medium voltage, and high voltage electrical works licenses. I have published 11 scientific articles. I am a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), Japanese Society of Mechanical Engineers (JSME), Institute of Engineers Bangladesh (IEB), Bangladesh Solar Energy Society (BSES).

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