How a data center works

The IT development has led to a strengthening of the park installed inside the data centers. In fact, to support the growing demand for systems and solutions, the machine rooms were literally populated with servers of different capacities and different configurations depending on the activities managed: for this reason a synonym of data center is server farm . Depending on business needs, a data center can occupy a cabinet (rack server), a few square meters or even occupy an entire building.

Highly specialized structures, organized to allow maximum functional efficiency to devices, systems and services, are the data centers to ensure worldwide business continuity. How do they work? Thanks to stable and redundant connectivity systems, or through a duplicate configuration that guarantees operational continuity in the event of faults or anomalies of one or more systems, so as to always guarantee maximum functionality. It is in this way that data centers make it possible to make data processed by computational units or stored in storage systems hosted on servers accessible. All the infrastructure of a data center is centered on networks that implement the IP protocoland connect machines and applications together. Each server farm hosts different sets of routers (i.e. network devices that deal with routing data, divided into packets, between different subnets) and switches designed and configured to carry data traffic in a bidirectional way between the servers and the rest of the world.

Inside a data center, in addition to the servers, there are various data storage systems (storage), various IT systems for monitoring, controlling and managing machines, applications and telecommunication infrastructures as well as all accessories connected to them. To ensure the operation and full efficiency of the machines, in addition to uninterruptible power supplies (UPS centers), the data centers provide very special air conditioning and environmental control systems, which include cooling systems, fire prevention systems and advanced safety systems.

Elements of a data center

Data Center Design Guide: Reference and Classification Standards (TIER I, II, III, IV)

The design of a data center is extremely complex. Building a centralized, suitable and performing environment, equipped with well-sized structures and with high levels of safety, reliability and efficiency in the provision of services is not easy. For this reason, a reference standard has been created.

Best practices, i.e. guidelines for the construction of a data center, follow the TIA -942 standard . In the TIA-942 there are indications on the definition of spaces and the design of the data centers, on the construction of the wiring, on the environmental conditions.

The guidelines also include a classification of data centers according to 4 levels, called TIER (in the TIER translation we mean the system to identify the structure of a data center), where the first is the basic one, in which business continuity has time deltas of interruption of almost 30 hours per year. It seems a small number, but try to think what it means for a supermarket, a hospital, a bank, a factory or an airport to have an unavailability of even two or three hours of services and it is clear why, depending on the core business, we must aim at higher levels.