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Data Centers

(Jungfrau, Switzerland - Alvin Wei-Cheng Wong)

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. A large data center is an industrial-scale operation using as much electricity as a small town.

A data center is a facility that centralizes an organization’s IT operations and equipment, as well as where it stores, manages, and disseminates its data. Data centers are vital to the continuity of daily operations. Consequentially, the security and reliability of data centers and their information is a top priority for organizations.
Data centers are an integral part of life, providing services ranging from social networking, e-commerce and entertainment to cloud infrastructures that provide storage and computing capabilities for individuals and enterprises. 
Data centers are critical, energy-hungry infrastructures that run large-scale Internet-based services. Data centers consume over 2% of the nation's electricity, generated mostly from fossil sources. Much of the energy expended by data centers is wasted due to operating inefficiencies, including operating more servers than are needed to handle the workload and overcooling the IT equipment, or deploying sub-optimal cooling and IT technologies. Energy consumption modeling and prediction for data centers and their components are pivotal in designing and optimizing energy-efficient operations to curb excessive energy consumption in data centers.

Software-Defined Data Center


Software-defined data center (SDDC) is the phrase used to refer to a data center where all infrastructure is virtualized and delivered as a service. Control of the data center is fully automated by software, meaning hardware configuration is maintained through intelligent software systems. This is in contrast to traditional data centers where the infrastructure is typically defined by hardware and devices. 

Software-defined data centers are considered by many to be the next step in the evolution of virtualization and cloud computing as it provides a solution to support both legacy enterprise applications and new cloud computing services. 

There are three core components of the software-defined data center: network virtualization, server virtualization and storage virtualization. A business logic layer is also required to translate application requirements, SLAs, policies and cost considerations. 


Cloud vs. Data Center

The main difference between a cloud and a data center is that a cloud is an off-premise form of computing that stores data on the Internet, whereas a data center refers to on-premise hardware that stores data within an organization's local network. While cloud services are outsourced to third-party cloud providers who perform all updates and ongoing maintenance, data centers are typically run by an in-house IT department.
Although both types of computing systems can store data, as a physical unit, only a data center can store servers and other equipment. As such, cloud service providers use data centers to house cloud services and cloud-based resources. For cloud-hosting purposes, vendors also often own multiple data centers in several geographic locations to safeguard data availability during outages and other data center failures.

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