What makes up a data center?
Data centers are at the core of all data processing and data transfer in the 21st century. Businesses such as large social media platforms may own and manage their own data center, or some businesses access data centers via the cloud to handle complex data that they cannot process on-site due to technological limitations. A data center houses high-end computing and networking equipment that collects, processes stores and transfers large amounts of data every single second. Though the exact function of a data center can vary, most data centers all have common components that are necessary for the data center to run correctly.
The “brain” of the data center is the computing equipment itself that processes all the data. This hardware infrastructure is sometimes provided by the data center and loaned to businesses, or is owned and deployed by the business itself. Network connectivity equipment such as fibre connections and cables are also vital to ensure the data center is connected to the internet and to a power source to keep the data center running.
The computing hardware in the data center is stored in data center racks that are designed to maximise the space within the facility. The racks must have adequate space for the hardware as well as all the necessary cables, and must allow for airflow between the units and space for cooling equipment to prevent overheating. Racks are then stored in server cabinets, which in turn are organised into aisles. Server cabinets not only house the data racks but can reduce the noise generated by the computing hardware and can even provide a built-in cooling solution. Soundproof server cabinets help to reduce the noise generated by the computing and cooling equipment within the cabinet to create a more pleasant work environment and minimise distracting noise. Rear door heat exchangers are also a component that can be mounted onto a server cabinet at the back of the unit, designed to extract heat from the equipment at the source instead of cooling the entire row of cabinets or the data center room as a whole.
Cooling equipment is essential to the running of a modern data center, as the computing hardware puts out high amounts of heat, which if not regulated could cause serious malfunctions and lead to unsafe working conditions. Data centers are often cooled with cold air, commonly from a Computer Room Air Conditioner or CRAC unit, which distributes cold air across the units. However, liquid cooling is becoming more common, used either on its own or in combination with air cooling, and is considered to be a more sustainable cooling option.
Though the size and exact use of a data center may vary, most data centers share these key components in order to function correctly. USystems are a leading provider of data center products that are designed to minimise the environmental impact of the data center. We provide data center racks and frames that save on space, cooling solutions such as rear door and in-row coolers to keep equipment running smoothly, and aisle containment solutions to maximise cooling efficiency.