A data center is a facility used to house computer systems and associated components, such as telecommunications and storage systems. It generally includes redundant or backup power supplies, redundant data communications connections, environmental controls (e.g., air conditioning, fire suppression) and various security devices. Large data centers are industrial scale operations using as much electricity as a small town and sometimes are a significant source of air pollution in the form of diesel exhaust. Capabilities exist to install modern retrofit devices on older diesel generators, including those found in data centers, to reduce emissions. Additionally, engines manufactured in the U.S. beginning in 2014 must meet strict emissions reduction requirements according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s “Tier 4″ regulations for off-road uses including those found in diesel generators. These regulations require near zero levels of emissions.
Data centers have their roots in the huge computer rooms of the early ages of the computing industry. Early computer systems were complex to operate and maintain, and required a special environment in which to operate. Many cables were necessary to connect all the components, and methods to accommodate and organize these were devised, such as standard racks to mount equipment, raised floors, and cable trays (installed overhead or under the elevated floor). Also, a single mainframe required a great deal of power, and had to be cooled to avoid overheating. Security was important – computers were expensive, and were often used for military purposes. Basic design guidelines for controlling access to the computer room were therefore devised.
During the boom of the microcomputer industry, and especially during the 1980s, computers started to be deployed everywhere, in many cases with little or no care about operating requirements. However, as information technology (IT) operations started to grow in complexity, companies grew aware of the need to control IT resources. With the advent of Linux and the subsequent proliferation of freely available Unix compatible PC operating systems during the 1990s, as well as MS-DOS finally giving way to a multi-tasking capable Windows OS, PCs started to find their places in the old computer rooms. These were called “servers” as timesharing operating systems like Unix rely heavily on the client-server model to facilitate sharing unique resources between multiple users. The availability of inexpensive networking equipment, coupled with new standards for network structured cabling, made it possible to use a hierarchical design that put the servers in a specific room inside the company. The use of the term “data center,” as applied to specially designed computer rooms, started to gain popular recognition about this time.
The boom of data centers came during the dot-com bubble. Companies needed fast Internet connectivity and nonstop operation to deploy systems and establish a presence on the Internet. Installing such equipment was not viable for many smaller companies. Many companies started building very large facilities, called Internet data centers (IDCs), which provide businesses with a range of solutions for systems deployment and operation. New technologies and practices were designed to handle the scale and the operational requirements of such large-scale operations. These practices eventually migrated toward the private data centers, and were adopted largely because of their practical results. Data centers for cloud computing are called cloud data centers (CDCs). But nowadays, the division of these terms has almost disappeared and they are being integrated into a term “data center.”
With an increase in the uptake of cloud computing, business and government organizations are scrutinizing data centers to a higher degree in areas such as security, availability, environmental impact and adherence to standards. Standard Documents from accredited professional groups, such as the Telecommunications Industry Association, specify the requirements for data center design. Well-known operational metrics for data center availability can be used to evaluate the business impact of a disruption. There is still a lot of development being done in operation practice, and also in environmentally friendly data center design. Data centers are typically very expensive to build and maintain.
Source From : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Data_center
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