A data center (American English)or data centre (British English) is a building, dedicated space within a building, or a group of buildings used to house computer systems and associated components, such as telecommunications and storage systems.
Since IT operations are crucial for business continuity, it generally includes redundant or backup components and infrastructure for power supply, data communication connections, environmental controls (e.g. air conditioning, fire suppression) and various security devices. A large data center is an industrial-scale operation using as much electricity as a small town.
Data centers have their roots in the huge computer rooms of the 1940s, typified by ENIAC, one of the earliest examples of a data center. – computers were expensive, and were often used for military purposes. Basic design-guidelines for controlling access to the computer room were therefore devised.Early computer systems, complex to operate and maintain, required a special environment in which to operate. Many cables were necessary to connect all the components, and methods to accommodate and organize these were devised such as standard racks to mount equipment, raised floors, and cable trays (installed overhead or under the elevated floor). A single mainframe required a great deal of power and had to be cooled to avoid overheating. Security became important
During the boom of the microcomputer industry, and especially during the 1980s, users started to deploy computers everywhere, in many cases with little or no care about operating requirements. However, as information technology (IT) operations started to grow in complexity, organizations grew aware of the need to control IT resources. The advent of Unix from the early 1970s led to the subsequent proliferation of freely available Linux-compatible PC operating-systems during the 1990s. These were called "servers", as timesharing operating systems such as Unix rely heavily on the client–server model to facilitate sharing unique resources between multiple users. The availability of inexpensive networking equipment, coupled with new standards for the network structured cabling, made it possible to use a hierarchical design that put the servers in a specific room inside the company. The use of the term "data center", as applied to specially designed computer rooms, started to gain popular recognition about this time.
The boom of data centers came during the dot-com bubble of 1997–2000.Companies needed fast Internet connectivity and non-stop operation to deploy systems and to establish a presence on the Internet. Installing such equipment was not viable for many smaller companies. Many companies started building very large facilities, called Internet data centers (IDCs), which provide enhanced capabilities, such as crossover backup: "If a Bell Atlantic line is cut, we can transfer them to ... to minimize the time of outage."
The term cloud data centers (CDCs) has been used.Data centers typically cost a lot to build and to maintain. Increasingly, the division of these terms has almost disappeared and they are being integrated into the term "data center".
Modernization and data center transformation enhances performance and energy efficiency.
Information security is also a concern, and for this reason, a data center has to offer a secure environment that minimizes the chances of a security breach. A data center must, therefore, keep high standards for assuring the integrity and functionality of its hosted computer environment.
Industry research company International Data Corporation (IDC) puts the average age of a data center at nine years old.Gartner, another research company, says data centers older than seven years are obsolete. The growth in data (163 zettabytes by 2025 ) is one factor driving the need for data centers to modernize.
Focus on modernization is not new: concern about obsolete equipment was decried in 2007,and in 2011 Uptime Institute was concerned about the age of the equipment therein. By 2018 concern had shifted once again, this time to the age of the staff: "data center staff are aging faster than the equipment."
The Telecommunications Industry Association's Telecommunications Infrastructure Standard for Data Centersspecifies the minimum requirements for telecommunications infrastructure of data centers and computer rooms including single tenant enterprise data centers and multi-tenant Internet hosting data centers. The topology proposed in this document is intended to be applicable to any size data center.
Telcordia GR-3160, NEBS Requirements for Telecommunications Data Center Equipment and Spaces,provides guidelines for data center spaces within telecommunications networks, and environmental requirements for the equipment intended for installation in those spaces. These criteria were developed jointly by Telcordia and industry representatives. They may be applied to data center spaces housing data processing or Information Technology (IT) equipment. The equipment may be used to:
Data center transformation takes a step-by-step approach through integrated projects carried out over time. This differs from a traditional method of data center upgrades that takes a serial and siloed approach.The typical projects within a data center transformation initiative include standardization/consolidation, virtualization, automation and security.
The term "Machine Room" is at times used to refer to the large room within a Data Center where the actual Central Processing Unit is located; this may be separate from where high-speed printers are located. Air conditioning is most important in the machine room.
Aside from air-conditioning, there must be monitoring equipment, one type of which is to detect water prior to flood-level situations.One company, for several decades, has had share-of-mind: Water Alert. The company, as of 2018, has two competing manufacturers (Invetex, Hydro-Temp) and three competing distributors (Longden, Northeast Flooring, Slayton ).
A raised floor standards guide named GR-2930 was developed by Telcordia Technologies, a subsidiary of Ericsson.
Although the first raised floor computer room was made by IBM in 1956,and they've "been around since the 1960s", it was the 1970s that made it more common for computer centers to thereby allow cool air to circulate more efficiently.
The first purpose of the raised floor was to allow access for wiring.
The "lights-out"data center, also known as a darkened or a dark data center, is a data center that, ideally, has all but eliminated the need for direct access by personnel, except under extraordinary circumstances. Because of the lack of need for staff to enter the data center, it can be operated without lighting. All of the devices are accessed and managed by remote systems, with automation programs used to perform unattended operations. In addition to the energy savings, reduction in staffing costs and the ability to locate the site further from population centers, implementing a lights-out data center reduces the threat of malicious attacks upon the infrastructure.
The two organizations in the United States that publish data center standards are the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) and the Uptime Institute.
The Telecommunications Industry Association's TIA-942 standard for data centers, published in 2005 and updated four times since, defined four infrastructure levels.
Four Tiers are defined by the Uptime Institute standard:
The field of data center design has been growing for decades in various directions, including new construction big and small along with the creative re-use of existing facilities, like abandoned retail space, old salt mines and war-era bunkers.
Local building codes may govern the minimum ceiling heights and other parameters. Some of the considerations in the design of data centers are:
Various metrics exist for measuring the data-availability that results from data-center availability beyond 95% uptime, with the top of the scale counting how many "nines" can be placed after "99%".
Modularity and flexibility are key elements in allowing for a data center to grow and change over time. Data center modules are pre-engineered, standardized building blocks that can be easily configured and moved as needed.
A modular data center may consist of data center equipment contained within shipping containers or similar portable containers.Components of the data center can be prefabricated and standardized which facilitates moving if needed.
Temperatureand humidity are controlled via:
Backup power consists of one or more uninterruptible power supplies, battery banks, and/or diesel / gas turbine generators.
To prevent single points of failure, all elements of the electrical systems, including backup systems, are typically fully duplicated, and critical servers are connected to both the "A-side" and "B-side" power feeds. This arrangement is often made to achieve N+1 redundancy in the systems. Static transfer switches are sometimes used to ensure instantaneous switchover from one supply to the other in the event of a power failure.
Air flow management addresses the need to improve data center computer cooling efficiency by preventing the recirculation of hot air exhausted from IT equipment and reducing bypass airflow. There are several methods of separating hot and cold airstreams, such as hot/cold aisle containment and in-row cooling units.
Cold aisle containment is done by exposing the rear of equipment racks, while the fronts of the servers are enclosed with doors and covers.
Computer cabinets are often organized for containment of hot/cold aisles. Ducting prevents cool and exhaust air from mixing. Rows of cabinets are paired to face each other so that cool air can reach equipment air intakes and warm air can be returned to the chillers without mixing.
Alternatively, a range of underfloor panels can create efficient cold air pathways directed to the raised floor vented tiles. Either the cold aisle or the hot aisle can be contained.
Another alternative is fitting cabinets with vertical exhaust ducts (chimney)Hot exhaust exits can direct the air into a plenum above a drop ceiling and back to the cooling units or to outside vents. With this configuration, traditional hot/cold aisle configuration is not a requirement.
Data centers feature fire protection systems, including passive and Active Design elements, as well as implementation of fire prevention programs in operations. Smoke detectors are usually installed to provide early warning of a fire at its incipient stage.
Two water-based options are:
Physical access is usually restricted. Layered security often starts with fencing, bollards and mantraps.Video camera surveillance and permanent security guards are almost always present if the data center is large or contains sensitive information. Fingerprint recognition mantraps is starting to be commonplace.
Logging access is required by some data protection regulations; some organizations tightly link this to access control systems. Multiple log entries can occur at the main entrance, entrances to internal rooms, and at equipment cabinets. Access control at cabinets can be integrated with intelligent power distribution units, so that locks are networked through the same appliance.
Energy use is a central issue for data centers. Power draw ranges from a few kW for a rack of servers in a closet to several tens of MW for large facilities. Some facilities have power densities more than 100 times that of a typical office building.For higher power density facilities, electricity costs are a dominant operating expense and account for over 10% of the total cost of ownership (TCO) of a data center.
Power costs for 2012 often exceeded the cost of the original capital investment.Greenpeace estimated worldwide data center power consumption for 2012 as about 382 billion kWh. Global data centers used roughly 416 TWh in 2016, nearly 40% more than the entire United Kingdom; USA DC consumption was 90 billion kWh.
In 2007 the entire information and communication technologies or ICT sector was estimated to be responsible for roughly 2% of global carbon emissions with data centers accounting for 14% of the ICT footprint.The US EPA estimates that servers and data centers are responsible for up to 1.5% of the total US electricity consumption, or roughly .5% of US GHG emissions, for 2007. Given a business as usual scenario greenhouse gas emissions from data centers is projected to more than double from 2007 levels by 2020.
In an 18-month investigation by scholars at Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy in Houston and the Institute for Sustainable and Applied Infodynamics in Singapore, data center-related emissions will more than triple by 2020.
The most commonly used energy efficiency metric of data center energy efficiency is power usage effectiveness (PUE), calculated as the ratio of total power entering the data center divided by the power used by IT equipment.
It measures the percentage of power used by overhead (cooling, lighting, etc.). The average USA data center has a PUE of 2.0,meaning two watts of total power (overhead + IT equipment) for every watt delivered to IT equipment. State-of-the-art is estimated to be roughly 1.2. Google publishes quarterly efficiency from data centers in operation.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has an Energy Star rating for standalone or large data centers. To qualify for the ecolabel, a data center must be within the top quartile of energy efficiency of all reported facilities.The Energy Efficiency Improvement Act of 2015 (United States) requires federal facilities — including data centers — to operate more efficiently. California's title 24 (2014) of the California Code of Regulations mandates that every newly constructed data center must have some form of airflow containment in place to optimize energy efficiency.
European Union also has a similar initiative: EU Code of Conduct for Data Centres.
The focus of measuring and analyzing energy use goes beyond what's used by IT equipment; facility support hardware such as chillers and fans also use energy.
In 2011 server racks in data centers were designed for more than 25 kW and the typical server was estimated to waste about 30% of the electricity it consumed. The energy demand for information storage systems was also rising. A high availability data center was estimated to have a 1 mega watt (MW) demand and consume $20,000,000 in electricity over its lifetime, with cooling representing 35% to 45% of the data center's total cost of ownership. Calculations showed that in two years the cost of powering and cooling a server could be equal to the cost of purchasing the server hardware. Research in 2018 has shown that substantial amount of energy could still be conserved by optimizing IT refresh rates and increasing server utilization.
In 2011 Facebook, Rackspace and others founded the Open Compute Project (OCP) to develop and publish open standards for greener data center computing technologies. As part of the project Facebook published the designs of its server, which it had built for its first dedicated data center in Prineville. Making servers taller left space for more effective heat sinks and enabled the use of fans that moved more air with less energy. By not buying commercial off-the-shelf servers, energy consumption due to unnecessary expansion slots on the motherboard and unneeded components, such as a graphics card, was also saved.In 2016 Google joined the project and published the designs of its 48V DC shallow data center rack. This design had long been part of Google data centers. By eliminating the multiple transformers usually deployed in data centers, Google had achieved a 30% increase in energy efficiency. In 2017 sales for data center hardware built to OCP designs topped $1.2 billion and are expected to reach $6 billion by 2021.
Power is the largest recurring cost to the user of a data center. 70 °F (21 °C) wastes money and energy. Furthermore, overcooling equipment in environments with a high relative humidity can expose equipment to a high amount of moisture that facilitates the growth of salt deposits on conductive filaments in the circuitry.Cooling it at or below
A power and cooling analysis, also referred to as a thermal assessment, measures the relative temperatures in specific areas as well as the capacity of the cooling systems to handle specific ambient temperatures.A power and cooling analysis can help to identify hot spots, over-cooled areas that can handle greater power use density, the breakpoint of equipment loading, the effectiveness of a raised-floor strategy, and optimal equipment positioning (such as AC units) to balance temperatures across the data center. Power cooling density is a measure of how much square footage the center can cool at maximum capacity. The cooling of data centers is the second largest power consumer after servers. The cooling energy varies from 10% of the total energy consumption in the most efficient data centers and goes up to 45% in standard air-cooled data centers.
An energy efficiency analysis measures the energy use of data center IT and facilities equipment. A typical energy efficiency analysis measures factors such as a data center's power use effectiveness (PUE) against industry standards, identifies mechanical and electrical sources of inefficiency, and identifies air-management metrics.However, the limitation of most current metrics and approaches is that they do not include IT in the analysis. Case studies have shown that by addressing energy efficiency holistically in a data center, major efficiencies can be achieved that are not possible otherwise.
This type of analysis uses sophisticated tools and techniques to understand the unique thermal conditions present in each data center—predicting the temperature, airflow, and pressure behavior of a data center to assess performance and energy consumption, using numerical modeling.By predicting the effects of these environmental conditions, CFD analysis in the data center can be used to predict the impact of high-density racks mixed with low-density racks and the onward impact on cooling resources, poor infrastructure management practices and AC failure or AC shutdown for scheduled maintenance.
Thermal zone mapping uses sensors and computer modeling to create a three-dimensional image of the hot and cool zones in a data center.
This information can help to identify optimal positioning of data center equipment. For example, critical servers might be placed in a cool zone that is serviced by redundant AC units.
Data centers use a lot of power, consumed by two main usages: the power required to run the actual equipment and then the power required to cool the equipment. Power-efficiency reduces the first category.
Cooling cost reduction from natural ways includes location decisions: When the focus is not being near good fiber connectivity, power grid connections and people-concentrations to manage the equipment, a data center can be miles away from the users. 'Mass' data centers like Google or Facebook don't need to be near population centers. Arctic locations can use outside air, which provides cooling, are getting more popular.
Renewable electricity sources are another plus. Thus countries with favorable conditions, such as: Canada,Finland, Sweden, Norway, and Switzerland, are trying to attract cloud computing data centers.
Bitcoin mining is increasingly being seen as a potential way to build data centers at the site of renewable energy production. Curtailed and clipped energy can be used to secure transactions on the Bitcoin blockchain providing another revenue stream to renewable energy producers.
It is very difficult to reuse the heat which comes from air cooled data centers. For this reason, data center infrastructures are more often equipped with heat pumps.An alternative to heat pumps is the adoption of liquid cooling throughout a data center. Different liquid cooling techniques are mixed and matched to allow for a fully liquid cooled infrastructure which captures all heat in water. Different liquid technologies are categorized in 3 main groups, Indirect liquid cooling (water cooled racks), Direct liquid cooling (direct-to-chip cooling) and Total liquid cooling (complete immersion in liquid, see Server immersion cooling). This combination of technologies allows the creation of a thermal cascade as part of temperature chaining scenarios to create high temperature water outputs from the data center.
Dynamic infrastructureprovides the ability to intelligently, automatically and securely move workloads within a data center anytime, anywhere, for migrations, provisioning, to enhance performance, or building co-location facilities. It also facilitates performing routine maintenance on either physical or virtual systems all while minimizing interruption. A related concept is Composable infrastructure, which allows for the dynamic reconfiguration of the available resources to suit needs, only when needed.
Side benefits include
Communications in data centers today are most often based on networks running the IP protocol suite. Data centers contain a set of routers and switches that transport traffic between the servers and to the outside worldwhich are connected according to the data center network architecture. Redundancy of the Internet connection is often provided by using two or more upstream service providers (see Multihoming).
Some of the servers at the data center are used for running the basic Internet and intranet services needed by internal users in the organization, e.g., e-mail servers, proxy servers, and DNS servers.
Network security elements are also usually deployed: firewalls, VPN gateways, intrusion detection systems, and so on. Also common are monitoring systems for the network and some of the applications. Additional off site monitoring systems are also typical, in case of a failure of communications inside the data center.
Non-mutually exclusive options for data backup are:
Onsite is traditional,and one major advantage is immediate availability.
Data backup techniques include having an encrypted copy of the data offsite. Methods used for transporting data are:
For quick deployment or disaster recovery, several large hardware vendors have developed mobile/modular solutions that can be installed and made operational in very short time.
A 19-inch rack is a standardized frame or enclosure for mounting multiple electronic equipment modules. Each module has a front panel that is 19 inches (482.6 mm) wide. The 19 inch dimension includes the edges or "ears" that protrude from each side of the equipment, allowing the module to be fastened to the rack frame with screws. Common uses include computer servers, telecommunications equipment and networking hardware, audiovisual production gear, and scientific equipment.
In computing, a server is a piece of computer hardware or software that provides functionality for other programs or devices, called "clients". This architecture is called the client–server model. Servers can provide various functionalities, often called "services", such as sharing data or resources among multiple clients, or performing computation for a client. A single server can serve multiple clients, and a single client can use multiple servers. A client process may run on the same device or may connect over a network to a server on a different device. Typical servers are database servers, file servers, mail servers, print servers, web servers, game servers, and application servers.
A colocation center or "carrier hotel", is a type of data centre where equipment, space, and bandwidth are available for rental to retail customers. Colocation facilities provide space, power, cooling, and physical security for the server, storage, and networking equipment of other firms and also connect them to a variety of telecommunications and network service providers with a minimum of cost and complexity.
A server farm or server cluster is a collection of computer servers – usually maintained by an organization to supply server functionality far beyond the capability of a single machine. Server farms often consist of thousands of computers which require a large amount of power to run and to keep cool. At the optimum performance level, a server farm has enormous costs associated with it. Server farms often have backup servers, which can take over the function of primary servers in the event of a primary-server failure. Server farms are typically collocated with the network switches and/or routers which enable communication between the different parts of the cluster and the users of the cluster. Server farmers typically mount the computers, routers, power supplies, and related electronics on 19-inch racks in a server room or data center.
A blade server is a stripped-down server computer with a modular design optimized to minimize the use of physical space and energy. Blade servers have many components removed to save space, minimize power consumption and other considerations, while still having all the functional components to be considered a computer. Unlike a rack-mount server, a blade server fits inside a blade enclosure, which can hold multiple blade servers, providing services such as power, cooling, networking, various interconnects and management. Together, blades and the blade enclosure form a blade system, which may itself be rack-mounted. Different blade providers have differing principles regarding what to include in the blade itself, and in the blade system as a whole.
Green computing, green ICT as per International Federation of Global & Green ICT "IFGICT", green IT, or ICT sustainability, is the study and practice of environmentally sustainable computing or IT.
A raised floor provides an elevated structural floor above a solid substrate to create a hidden void for the passage of mechanical and electrical services. Raised floors are widely used in modern office buildings, and in specialized areas such as command centers, Information technology data centers and computer rooms, where there is a requirement to route mechanical services and cables, wiring, and electrical supply. Such flooring can be installed at varying heights from 2 inches (51 mm) to heights above 4 feet (1.2 m) to suit services that may be accommodated beneath. Additional structural support and lighting are often provided when a floor is raised enough for a person to crawl or even walk beneath.
A server room is a room, usually air-conditioned, devoted to the continuous operation of computer servers. An entire building or station devoted to this purpose is a data center.
Liebert Corporation, a business of Vertiv, is a global manufacturer of power, precision cooling and infrastructure management systems for mainframe computer, server racks, and critical process systems. Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, the business employs more than 1,800 people across 12 manufacturing plants worldwide.
Dynamic Infrastructure is an information technology concept related to the design of data centers, whereby the underlying hardware and software can respond dynamically and more efficiently to changing levels of demand. In other words, data center assets such as storage and processing power can be provisioned to meet surges in user's needs. The concept has also been referred to as Infrastructure 2.0 and Next Generation Data Center.
Power usage effectiveness (PUE) is a ratio that describes how efficiently a computer data center uses energy; specifically, how much energy is used by the computing equipment.
IT energy management or Green IT as per International Federation of Global & Green ICT "IFGICT" is the analysis and management of energy demand within the Information Technology department in any organization. IT energy demand accounts for approximately 2% of global CO
2 emissions, approximately the same level as aviation, and represents over 10% of all the global energy consumption. IT can account for 25% of a modern office building’s energy cost.
The Open Compute Project (OCP) is an organization that shares designs of data center products and best practices among companies, including Facebook, IBM, Intel, Nokia, Google, Microsoft, Seagate Technology, Dell, Rackspace, Cisco, Goldman Sachs, Fidelity, Lenovo and Alibaba Group.
The HP Performance Optimized Datacenter (POD) is a range of three modular data centers manufactured by HP.
iDataCool is a high-performance computer cluster based on a modified IBM System x iDataPlex. The cluster serves as a research platform for cooling of IT equipment with hot water and efficient reuse of the waste heat. The project is carried out by the physics department of the University of Regensburg in collaboration with the IBM Research and Development Laboratory Böblingen and InvenSor. It is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG), the German state of Bavaria, and IBM.
Energy Logic is a vendor-neutral approach to achieving energy efficiency in data centers. Developed and initially released in 2007, the Energy Logic efficiency model suggests ten holistic actions – encompassing IT equipment as well as traditional data center infrastructure – guided by the principles dictated by the "Cascade Effect."
Immersion cooling is an IT cooling practice by which IT components and other electronics, including complete servers, are submerged in a thermally conductive dielectric liquid or coolant. Heat is removed from the system by circulating liquid into direct contact with hot components, then through cool heat exchangers. Fluids suitable for immersion cooling have very good insulating properties to ensure that they can safely come into contact with energized electronic components.
Close Coupled Cooling is a last generation cooling system particularly used in data centers. The goal of close coupled cooling is to bring heat transfer closest to its source: the equipment rack. By moving the air conditioner closer to the equipment rack a more precise delivery of inlet air and a more immediate capture of exhaust air is ensured.
A green data center, or sustainable data center, is a service facility which utilizes energy-efficient technologies. They do not contain obsolete systems, and take advantage of newer, more efficient technologies.
Data center management is the collection of tasks performed by those responsible for managing ongoing operation of a data center This includes Business service management and planning for the future.
data center .. a giant .. facility .. 15 of these buildings, and six more .. under construction
'Friends don't let friends build data centers,' said Charles Phillips, chief executive officer of Infor, a business software maker
CRAC (Computer Room Air Conditioner) Units: ... kit used ... to support ... Data Center Machine Room Floor.
... machine room is ...
Our two Computer Room Air Conditioners (CRACs) ... providing redundant ...
Dorlen Products (Continued from Page 107) ... Liebert ...
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Data centers .|
|Wikibooks has a book on the topic of: The Design and Organization of Data Centers|
|Look up data center in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|