What you need to know about data centers?Just about every business or entity has a data center, whether is onsite, located at a provider’s facility or in the cloud. But what are data centers and how do they work?

Data Centers are simply centralized locations where computer and networking equipment is housed with the purpose of storing, processing, distributing, collecting or allowing access to large amounts of data. Data centers can range from a small space in your office with a few servers to a large colocation space with thousands of very powerful servers running 24/7 requiring redundant power sources, redundant internet service, highly monitored security and state of the art cooling equipment.

What types of computers are hosted in a data center?

The difference between a regular office computer and a server in a data center is its performance; the server has more memory, storage space and powerful processor or processors, as well as redundant power supplies. These servers are usually not connected to a monitor or other peripherals and can be accessed remotely.

How does a data center work?

A data center is usually connected to more than one internet service provider and multiple routers which choose the best avenue to send and receive information. For example, a server in a data center hosting a website will process a request to display a website when you type the web address on your browser, or to receive information when you upload a document or a picture. In the same way, a server in a data center can also allow you to connect to your accounting software hosted in a server and input data.

Is a data center, the cloud?

Yes. Any cloud service provider like Google, Microsoft or Amazon has a data center with multiple servers where they store their customer information and can offer software as a service (SaaS) such as Office 365, Amazon Cloud Services, Google Apps and QuickBooks Online.

The main difference is that cloud services are constantly being maintained by the provider you choose to make sure all hardware is running appropriately, your information is secure and your data is backed up. Some cloud services providers will also have replication of your data in two data center locations in case one data center goes down, they can quickly switch over their users to their second data center with minimal or no downtime.

What type of issues do data centers face?

Data centers are expected to run uninterrupted 24/7 service. Issues like equipment failure, power outages, communications or network congesting can keep many users from accessing their data or application and need to deal with immediately. This is why most data centers have staff available 24/7 and backup policies in place in case of downtime.

Does your business need to host their information in a data center?

It depends on the type of operations your business runs. Most small businesses are good with having a server onsite that can be accessed remotely when users are working from the field or home and have offsite backup in case the server goes down. Other businesses that depend entirely on their servers choose to have a server onsite, a replication of that server hosted in a data center and an offsite backup solution. In the second case, if the server onsite fails, they can quickly switch over to the server hosted in the data center and have very minimal downtime.

Give us a call if you have any questions, are looking to setup a new server or would like us to take a look at your server. Stimulus Technologies is an expert on high availability servers, data center hosting, and redundant solutions.