The term ‘data centre’ is quite mind boggling and often raises eyebrows when heard. So what is it actually? Let’s break it down to simple terms. To state it simply, a data centre is a large group of networked computer servers used by an organisation for the remote storage, distribution or processing of large volumes of data such as images, texts, videos and so on.
For instance, Google is a website with trillions of pages indexed in its search engine stored in a server. Now how is it stored and what is a ‘server’? Server is a device or computer programme that offers functionality for other devices or programmes known as “clients”. In other words, a server is a computer connected to the Internet which allows remote computers to access data stored in it using a browser.
Now coming back to data centre – it is a space where many ‘servers’ are connected to each other forming a network to store data. It generally includes redundant or backup power supplies, redundant data communication connections, environmental controls and various security devices.
Requirements of a data centre
Data centres are set up using cutting edge technologies, ranging from high end computer servers, fiber optic cables for high bandwidth of Internet to generators for stable power supply, safety measures and maintenance.
Server Network – Data centre servers can be broadly divided into two categories: production servers and backup servers. The production server contains the files and stored data to be displayed on a web page or application, whereas the backup servers keep a copy of the data from the production server in case of fail-safe incidences. If the production server suffers from any outage or loss of data, the backup server comes in to play to save the day.
Fibre Optic Cables – The internet connection we use in our homes is quite different from that used in a data centre. Typical data centres require high bandwidth of data in order to operate. Domestic internet connection cannot handle this type of demands. To meet the Internet necessity of a data centre ideally, fiber optic internet cables are used.
Generators – Power supply outage is a very common incident and can be triggered due to a number of reasons. However, when data centres are concerned, power supply outage is not a thing that can be compromised with. It can cause server damange & loss of data, which in turn can result in loss worth millions. To ensure this never happens, all data centres are backed up by large industry level generators to make sure the machines keep performing even if there is a power outage.
Safety Measures – With such high power machines running, safety becomes quite a big issue. Any kind of short circuit can cause fire. Data centres have dedicated disaster management precaution for this. Starting from very basics like using data centre grommet along with cables, fire extinguishers to drills for averting any human disaster, data centres are well equipped.
In addition to all of these, data centres have a high level of security as well, in order to ensure suitable protection for the sensitive information contained within them.