Data has become the most powerful tool in the present era and no business can survive without it. Basically, data centers are just buildings that provide space, power and cooling for network infrastructure. But the amount of data being generated by businesses is growing exponentially every year. Managing such a vast amount of data can become complex. This is why big data centers are being implemented at a faster rate than ever.
The data center is the center hub for any business’s IT department. Organizations depend on the reliability of a data center to ensure that their daily IT operations are always functioning. From Tesla to Microsoft, every company working with data has its own data center. In this article we dive into the different types of data centers.
Hyperscale Data Center
A hyperscale data center is one of the most advanced data centers available. These data centers are typically owned and managed by the company that supports it. Used by industry leaders like Google, Amazon, and Facebook, hyperscale data centers are not practical for small or mid-sized businesses. In this type of data center, hyperscale computing becomes a necessity for big data storage and also for cloud. The average size of a hyperscale data center is approximately 1000 sq. feet and 500 cabinets or more. They usually have a minimum of 5,000 servers linked with an ultra-high speed, high fiber count network. This high fiber count is the main difference between hyperscale data centers and other type of data centers.
Colocation Data Center
Colocation data centers developed out of the managed services business as companies were willing to outsource some of their operations, but still wanted to have their own employees maintain control. They consist of one data center owner selling space, power and cooling to multiple enterprises. Companies lease one rack or one cage from a provider and their employees are responsible for doing much of the work within the space. Depending on the size of your network requirement, you can rent 1 Cabinet to 100 Cabinets, in some cases ¼ or ½ a cabinet is available. A colocation data center can house 100s if not 1000s of individual customers.
Many of these sites have the added benefit of being able to connect with other companies’ servers, creating interconnections. This feature is extremely beneficial for financial trading firms that want to connect with a financial exchange to enable trades. Interconnection is a large driver for businesses. Colocation data centers offer interconnection to Software as a Service (SaaS) such as Salesforce, or Platform as a service (PaaS) like Azure. This enables businesses to scale and grow their business with minimum complexity at a low cost.
Wholesale Data Centers
Wholesale data centers, sometimes referred to as multi-tenant data centers (MTDC), became popular as large enterprises needed more than just a rack or a cage, but wanted a much larger space and didn’t have enough time to build a new site. The tenant space is usually a 10,000-sf area, and companies are charged based on the amount of power allocated to them. There are some variable costs associated with these properties, but this is significantly less expensive than any of the aforementioned. Digital Realty Trust is considered the largest and these types. Depending on the data center size, this can be typically under 100 tenants.
Enterprise Data Center
Enterprise data centers are the types of data centers that most of us are familiar with. An enterprise data center is a facility owned and operated by the company it supports and is often built on site. Many have certain sections of the data center caged off to separate different sections of the business. Most enterprises commonly outsource maintenance, but run the white space themselves through their IT department.
Typically, an enterprise data center can have anywhere from 10 cabinets or more and can be as large as 40MW+.
Telecom Data Center
A telecom data center is a type of data center that is owned by a telecommunication company like AT&T and Verizon, however it can also be owned by a service provider company. High connectivity is the driver of the business, because without it a telecom data center won’t be able to function properly. A telecom data center is responsible for cloud services, mobile services, and driving content delivery.
Different Types of Data Center Tiers
Like many things, data centers come in all shapes and sizes. From mobile micro-data centers that can be transported to massive hyperscale facilities that house thousands of servers. Modern data centers are so adaptable and perform a variety of tasks, so it can be difficult to categorize them. The Data Center Tier Classification system is an easy way for categorizing data centers on the basis of uptime reliability. No matter what role a data center plays as part of a company’s IT infrastructure, its overall level of uptime reliability is perhaps the most important aspect of its performance. Each tier represents different levels of availability, hours of operation per year, and the infrastructure redundancy standards in place to preserve lifeline services.
Tier 1 Data Center
A smaller, on-site data center, tier 1 data centers offer little in the way of infrastructure idleness and usually experience higher levels of downtime. Typically, there is no backup generators in place to protect against power loss or cooling system failure and tend to lack the energy efficiency standards, resulting in higher power and cooling costs.
Tier 2 Data Center
A somewhat bigger data center, tier 2 data centers are usually private data centers that include a basic backup system to preserve system availability. Tier 2 data centers still tend to be uneconomical in terms of power and cooling usage, usually due to poor infrastructure design or an failure to manage processing workloads efficiently.
Tier 3 Data Center
Considered by many to be the minimum standard for larger enterprises, a tier 3 data center has systems in place to limit their vulnerability to equipment failure and various operational errors. Tier 3 data centers employ an uninterrupted power supply (UPS) that continuously delivers power to servers while power is switched over to generator backup. These data centers experience 0.018% maximum downtime adding up to no more than 1.6 hours annually.
Tier 4 Data Center
The highest tier data center is tier 4. A tier 4 data center includes true fault tolerance into its infrastructure. This type of data center has twice the number of resources and equipment needed to maintain services even in the event of severe disruptions. Organizations that employ a tier 4 data center can’t afford even a few moments of downtime. These data centers experience 0.005% maximum downtime adding up to .4 hours annually.