Basic Data Center Concept

Basic Data Center Concept

A data center is a physical facility that is used to place critical applications along with their data. Fundamentally, the data center design is based on computer networks and storage resources that allow the data center (DC) to share applications and data. Modern business today is very dependent on applications, services, and data located in the data center. As a result, the data center becomes a critical asset because it is used in daily business operations.

Today's modern data center is different from DC a few years ago. The infrastructure has shifted from a traditional on-premises physical server presence to a virtualized infrastructure environment that supports applications and workloads distributed across the physical infrastructure and including the cloud network environment.

Currently, modern DCs are scattered in various places, where data and applications are located. Crossing public or private cloud networks to the network edge via mobile or embedded computing. This is an environment that is constantly changing, DC must follow the interests of users and applications.

Why Are Data Centers Important for Business?

In today's modern enterprise or business organization, data centers are designed to support business applications and activities that include, among others:

a. Email and file sharing

b. Productivity apps

c. Applications for customer relations management and enterprise resources planning

d. Big data

e. Artificial Intelligence

f. Communication and collaboration services

g. Data Center Core Components

Datacenter design includes the existence of applications such as routers, switches, firewalls, storage systems, servers, and application delivery controllers. Because this component stores and manages critical business data and applications. Security is a critical part of data center design. Together they facilitate:

Computer network infrastructure. Connecting servers (physical or virtual), data center services, storage, and external connectivity to end-user locations.

Storage infrastructure. Data is the fuel of the modern data center. Storage is used to store this valuable commodity.

Computing resources. Applications are data center engines. This server provides processing capabilities, memory, local storage, and network connectivity that can control applications.

How Do Data Centers Work?

The data center is not a single object, but a combination of various elements. At a minimum, the data center functions as a storage area for all IT devices. Among others: servers, routers, switches, firewalls, storage, cabling, racks that are organized and connected. In addition, there are other infrastructures such as buildings, distribution of electricity, electrical equipment, cooling systems, as well as support from network carriers for WAN connections. All of them work together so that the data center can operate and provide the necessary services.

Standard in Data Center

The standard commonly used for data center infrastructure is ANSI/TIA-942 and includes certification. Ensure that the data center complies with one of the 4 categories of the data center tier that assesses the level of redundancy and fault tolerance.

  1. Tier 1: Basic site infrastructure. Tier 1 category data centers have limited protection capabilities against physical disturbances. It only has components with a single capacity and does not have redundant distribution channels.
  2.  Tier 2: Redundant-capacity component site infrastructure. The Tier 2 category data center has better capabilities in terms of protection against physical disturbances than Tier 1. It has components with redundant capacity, however, distribution lines are still not redundant.
  3. Tier 3: Concurrently maintainable site infrastructure. The Tier 3 category data center has a component capacity that can ward off any physical disturbances. The whole includes multiple and redundant distribution paths. Each component can be replaced or removed without causing service disruption to end-users.
  4. Tier 4: Fault-tolerant site infrastructure. This is the highest category in general, almost the same as Tier 3 but can maintain concurrent and one fault that occurs anywhere will not cause downtime.

Data Center Type

There are several types of data centers and service models today. The classification depends on whether it is owned by one or more organizations, how it can match the topology of other data centers, the technology used for computing and storage, and its energy efficiency.

  1. Enterprise data centers. This type of data center is built, owned, and operated by a company that is optimized according to the interests of the owner and end-users. Usually located inside the corporate campus.
  2. Managed services data centers. Data centers are managed by third parties for the benefit of other companies. The company leases the equipment and infrastructure instead of buying it.
  3. Colocation data centers. The popular data center is called “colo”. Where the company rents space in a data center owned by another company. The owner of the data center provides infrastructure such as buildings, cooling, bandwidth, security, electricity, etc., while the company provides the components: servers, storage, and firewalls.
  4. Cloud data centers. This is the third type and is gaining popularity. Not providing data center services that are on-premises but off-premises, for example, Amazon web services, Azure, IBM Cloud, Alibaba Cloud, etc.

Data Center Architecture and Design

Even though any location or space can be used as a data center. Datacenter design and implementation must be carried out with great care. Apart from basic issues such as fees and taxes. So the location must be selected based on several criteria, such as geographical location, seismic stability, access to roads and airports or terminals, availability of electrical energy and telecommunications, even including the socio-political conditions where the data center will be built.

After the location problem has been resolved, the data architecture can be designed with attention to the mechanical and electrical infrastructure aspects as well as the composition and layout of IT equipment. All of these issues must be addressed with guidance on aspects of efficiency and the fulfillment of the Tier targets to be achieved.

Energy Efficiency and Consumption

A data center is an infrastructure that is greedy in terms of energy consumption. The higher the IT service capacity and the Tier target, the consumption will be calculated in megawatts. Even a data center containing 60 full 42 U racks with a Tier 3 level can consume 2 megawatts of electricity.

Therefore, the layout design and the placement of the racks along with the cooling are the keys to saving electricity. Because the electricity consumption of the device and cooling absorbs 70% of the total electricity provided. The data center layout with the Hot Aisle / Cold Aisle concept is the key to electrical energy efficiency. In addition, of course, the use of server and network devices that save electricity.

That's why big players like Google, Microsoft, Alibaba, etc. prefer to put their DC in cold climate countries. Because DC operating costs in tropical countries are more expensive than in cold climates because of the large cooling system requirements. However, government regulations forced them to finally set up a data center in Indonesia.

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