When the Internet first started it was simply a network of computers connecting to one another. Now, much of the Internet consists of connecting to data centers where massive amounts of information are stored and shared.
While data centers are now an indispensable part of the world wide web, building one comes with a variety of unique challenges. This being the case, a lot of planning and consideration goes into the construction of a new data center.
What Are Data Centers?
A data center is a platform that processes, shares, and stores data. Physically speaking, a data center is a large structure that houses IT equipment in most cases. Depending on the specific definition of the term, there are between half a million and a million operational data centers around the world today. Many companies today offer data center solutions among other IT services in the industry.
Since data centers are meant to operate 24/7, they are typically equipped with multiple redundancies, backup power supplies, security devices, and other systems to ensure uninterrupted service.
What Are The Data Center Variants?
Data centers can come in different varieties that serve different purposes. Generally speaking, the main three types are colocation, managed hosting, and exclusive. Let’s take a look at what each is used for.
A managed hosting provider is a type of data center that is wholly owned by a third party. This means that all of the IT equipment within belongs to this third party and isn’t rented by those that use it.
A colocation data center is a structure in which clients rent space for their IT equipment. The equipment itself is owned by the clients and they can rent more space if they need it, or they can use other data centers.
Exclusive data centers are typically owned by a single large business. Examples of this would be social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Since these data centers are owned and operated by a single company, they are also managed by that company as well.a
Why It’s Difficult to Open a Data Center
Unlike other utilities, building a data center is much more difficult. This is because the sensitive nature of data centers means that there are many factors to take into consideration when creating a new one. Let’s go over four challenges when it comes to opening a data center.
- Temperature Range
Since data center equipment can only operate at certain temperatures, the climate at the location of a data center is a big factor to consider. Building a data center in a location that is either very hot or very cold will lead to additional expenses to keep the structure’s temperature within acceptable ranges.
2. Environmental Risks
Natural disasters and severe weather can also be a big problem for data centers. Unfortunately, it is not always possible to avoid building them in hazardous areas and extreme measures will have to be taken to ensure their continued operation. A good example of this kind of data center solution would be the Bahnhof Data Center in Sweden which was built under a mountain.
The reason data centers must sometimes be built in hazardous areas is that the distance between the data center and its users is a big factor when it comes to the quality of service it provides. In most cases, the closer a data center is to its users, the better the speed and latency will be when transferring data.
4. Power Supply
Typically the largest cost associated with running a data center is its power supply. Not only is a lot of power needed to keep the temperature stable, but also to run redundant systems so that service will be uninterrupted should the main system fail. Sometimes backup generators and private power grids will also be needed to ensure continued service.
Overcoming Challenges When Opening a Data Center
The main thing to take into account when opening a new data center is how much one is willing to risk vs how much reward one can expect. Each location must be assessed in this manner to determine which area would be best for data center construction.
Costs must be weighed as well since the climate and weather can have a large impact on how much power will be needed to run the center. In the end, advancing technology is helping to reduce both the risks and the costs associated with opening new data centers.