What Is a Data Center And Why Is It Important?
What Is a Data Center And Why Is It Important?
When the world's technology and social media giants switch to cloud technology, you will often hear the term "data center". Starting from Google, Facebook, to Microsoft, maybe every top technology company needs data center support. In the context of modern technology, it's safe to say that it's impossible for a technology company to function without them. So, what is a data center, and why is it so important?
What is a Data Center?
Data centers are basically large computers that store and process information. Every company or organization that handles user data definitely needs a data center. In other words, if you have an account on any website, or if you have used the internet to search for anything, you are definitely using up some space in data centers located in several locations around the world.
The data center is usually referred to as a single entity, but actually consists of racks, cabinets, cables, batteries, and backup generators in the event of a power failure. Because they store billions of megawatts of information, they also have cooling systems to keep them from overheating.
So, think of a data center as a supercomputer that stores all the information online for you, and for millions of people around the world.
How was the History of the Data Center Found?
Although data centers are booming today, these physical facilities are not a recent invention of the twenty-first century.
It is generally believed that the first facility that can be considered a "data center" was built in 1946 in the United States. It was called ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer), and was used by the United States military to store defense codes and other important information. ENIAC was huge, covering 1,800 square feet, and weighing up to 30 tons.
In the 1960s to 70s when commercial computers started to gain popularity, large computers similar to the ENIAC started to appear on the market. Veteran IT company IBM was at the forefront of such infrastructure at the time. In 1964, IBM launched the world's first "supercomputer" called the CDC 6600. When you think about it, this supercomputer had all the features of a data center.
However, it was only in the 1990s that the term "data center" was coined. With the internet rapidly taking over the world, IT companies at the time saw the need to move their servers to dedicated computer rooms.
Where is the Data Center Located?
Data centers are ubiquitous around the world, but most, if not all, are located in areas free from natural disasters. Many are also located near stable and reliable power sources, guaranteeing better internet connectivity. Proximity is also another important aspect: the closer the data center is to the business, the faster the overall business Internet speed.
As they begin to spread overseas, data center companies also consider a country's tax laws, water and electricity costs, and geopolitical risks as important factors.
As data centers become larger in storage capacity, many companies are also starting to consider security as one of their top concerns. On-site availability of security, such as surveillance cameras and security personnel, and software security for each component is now available mostly 24/7.
There are more than 6,000 data centers in around 126 countries globally. Currently the world's largest data center is in the United States, has an area of 7.2 million square feet called The Citadel. It's located in Tahoe Reno, Nevada, and houses data from some of the most important names in the business, including eBay, Amazon, HP, Boeing, and Bloomberg.
Types of Data Center Types
Data centers are divided into three main types. The first is the enterprise data center. This is a facility owned and operated by the technology company itself. For example, Google, Microsoft, and IBM have enterprise data centers in various locations around the world.
Next is colocation data center. This is when a company leases some rack space from an enterprise data center. Big technology companies like Facebook also have colocation data centers in addition to their enterprise data centers.
With cloud technology becoming increasingly important in the tech world, cloud data centers are also becoming more popular. Technology companies that have businesses dedicated to cloud computing usually also operate cloud data centers. Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure are examples.
Now that we know the different types of data centers, who are the world's top data center providers? Apart from the big names in technology that we all know, some that you should know about are NextDC, SpaceDC, Equinix, and Digital Realty. The first two are headquartered in Australia and Singapore, while the last two were founded in the United States.
Why is Data Center Important?
The data center is important because everyone uses the data. From individual users like you guys and admins to multinational companies. Everyone may have used the services provided by the data center.
Whether it's sending emails, shopping online, playing video games, or simply browsing social media, every byte of what you store online is stored in data centers.
For medium and large enterprises, the cloud data center is fast becoming the preferred mode of data storage. This is because they are much more secure than storing information with ordinary hardware. The cloud data center offers enhanced security protections such as firewalls, and backup components in case of a security breach.
So what is a data center? A data center is a physical location that houses IT and core computing services and infrastructure. Simply put, a data center is a physical place to store and compute data. The data center is the lifeline that keeps our digital world going.
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