Data Centre is a secure and temperature controlled building for hosting network equipment and storage servers. The purpose of a data centre is to provide suitable cooling and secure environment for business to host their IT equipment so that they can freely focus on their core business activities.
The Need for Data Centre in Today’s World
In this days and age, data centre plays an import role in the success.
Data Centre means a controlled building or facility to store network, communication, and storage equipment. “Data Centre” Definition: (also spelled as “Data Center” or “Datacenter” “datacentre”) “is a dedicated and controlled building facility to physically host large group of networked computer systems and associated telecommunication components, such as servers, routers, switches, firewalls, storage and security devices for operation”.
What is a Data Centre in Realword?
By definition data centre is a dedicated building to physically host a large group of digitally networked computer systems and associated telecommunication components, such as servers, routers, switches, firewalls, storage and security devices etc. for operation.
About this Guide
This guide provides detailed information about data centre for educational purpose only. The guide can be freely used for university, college or other research purposes. The facts/ information changes time to time, therefore, we don’t accept any responsibility or liability for the correction of this information.
Table of Contents
- Data Centre Tiers
- Data Centre Cloud Computing
- Data Centre Environment
- Data Centre Protection
- Data Centre Energy Efficiency
- Data Centre Rating
- Abbreviations & Acronyms
In the 1990s after the innovation of Unix Servers, driving the need for client-server sharing facilities for multiple users operation. Initially, the Servers were kept in separate rooms, the server room was later on referred to as “Data Centre” and this is how the first Data Centre in the world was created. During the dot-com bubble in 1997–2000 the data centre needs in the world was at its peak for the first time in history. During this time modern techniques and standards were introduced applied to the data centre development. Read more about Data Centre overview
It is estimated that due to new people connecting to the internet, an increased demand for more and higher quality data, and an increase in smartphone activity, internet traffic in the UK and worldwide will grow significantly. As the volume of traffic increases, so will our need for data centres to process and store data. While reliability and speed of access to data will remain the major concerns for those involved with data centres, energy efficiency and ICT sustainability are increasing as a priority. Learn more about the Data Centre Introduction.
Data Centres have become critical to modern organisations: the processing and storage of information underpin the modern economy, which is characterised by a consistent increase in the volume of data and applications, and dependence upon the internet and IT services. The guide treats the protection of Data Centres holistically, covering the protection principles from initial site selection through to design, build, and operation. It covers all the elements required without prescription as individual requirements will vary.
Research and Learning
Data centres are fast-moving, complex topic that needs decisive and knowledgeable professionals. Technical education for the digital infrastructure industry is becoming essential to meet the market demand. Anglia Ruskin University and EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Data Science have taken the initiatives to fill in this knowledge gap.
- Anglia Ruskin University (MA Degree in Data Centre Leadership and Management)
- Doctoral training in the theory & practice of data science at the University of Edinburgh
Benefits of using Datacentre
There are significant benefits for organisations using the data centres:
- Savings on premises, infrastructure, rack, disaster recovery and network connection costs
- Better environmental performance – reduced carbon footprint
- Compliance with best practice standards for ICT provision
- Alignment with the government’s national ICT agenda
- Shared services and other multi-agency arrangements
- Shared networks and joint commissioning
- Business continuity.
Effective data centre operation requires a balanced investment in both the facility and the housed equipment. The higher the availability needs of a data centre, the higher the capital and operational costs of building and managing it. virtualisation technologies to replace or consolidate multiple data centre equipment, such as servers. Virtualisation helps to lower capital and operational expenses.
Data Centre Tiers
Data Centres Tiers classification is based on operational features i.e. resiliency & backup (power, network circuits, cooling, and storage), physical & logical security, and availability & uptime. Internationally 4 Tiers of classification has been recognised and accepted. i.e. Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 3, Tier 4, Tier 5. Every Tier offers a predefined operational capacity. The cost of the data centre is hugely dependent on the kind of Data Centre Tier you built or choose for hosting.
Assessing the processing and storage capacity
To assess the energy efficiency of your IT equipment, your Assessor will require information on your server and storage equipment located in the data centre. To conduct a rating, your Assessor will need to verify that the information matches the current IT equipment configuration by conducting a site visit. In order to do this, they will need the following documentation to calculate your processing and storage capacity:
Data Centre layout a marked up drawing of the data centre to help locate individual items of equipment referenced in the calculation of processing capacity and storage capacity.
Processing capacity a list of all functioning server equipment located within the data centre, including the equipment manufacturer and model number, clock speed and the number of cores for each server and location within the data centre, for example, rack ID.
Storage Capacity a list of all functioning storage equipment located within the data centre, including the equipment manufacturer and model number, with terabytes TB of unformatted storage for each unit and location within the data centre, for example, rack ID.
Cloud Computing in Data Centre
Cloud computing represents a radical change in the way that organisations use and pay for Data Centre. Instead of hosting applications and data on an individual desktop computer, everything is hosted in the “Cloud” – a collection of computers and servers accessed via the internet or a private network.
Benefits of Cloud-Based Data Centre
Cloud computing has brought about a step change in the economics and sustainability of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) enabled service provision. Companies today are committed to the adoption of cloud computing and delivering computing resources to users as needed (an on-demand delivery model). By exploiting innovations in cloud computing we will transform the Data Centre into one that is agile, cost-effective and environmentally sustainable. The implementation of cloud computing and on-demand delivery models is central to meeting these challenges.
Data Centre protection starts with a Risk and Threat Assessment, which combines threats, hazards, vulnerability and weaknesses and sets controls proportionate to identified risks. From this, an Operational Requirement is developed that is agreed by the business and from which protection is justified.
The Data Centre Guide treats people, processes and technologies as factors combining to deliver the physical security, personnel security and information security controls that will protect the Data Centre and the services it delivers. Once in place, protection controls should be continually tested and revised to ensure that they remain relevant and responsive to the agreed Risk assessment.
The Data Centre Site
The Data Centre requires a reliable, stable electrical power supply (backed up by generators and uninterruptible power supplies), a location that is as free from risk and hazard as possible, and the availability of diverse communications. The site should provide a layered approach to security with consideration given to the security of the external environment and provide a secure perimeter. The facility should be further separated into appropriate security zones to protect the most critical and sensitive assets. These layers and zones will incorporate appropriate physical protection, detection and monitoring systems to deter, detect and delay any attacker.
Managing the Data Centre
Effective management of the Data Centre will depend upon a Risk Assessment and Protection Plan that is owned by executive management, appropriately managed and followed by all members of staff. Protection goes hand in hand with the operational delivery that may also require a business resilience strategy incorporating business continuity and disaster recovery plans to ensure that an individual Data Centre does not become a single point of Corporate business failure.
The Data Centre Environment
Corporate Data Centres vary widely in nature; from massively reinforced bunkers through to simple cabinets of equipment. A dedicated Data Centre facility will typically comprise a number of key features that include:
- External Perimeter
- Internal Areas
- A Data Centre Control Room
- Electrical Power Supply
- Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning (HVAC)
- Data Hall
Resiliency and Availability
The general approach to Data Centre protection is one of ‘defence in depth’ by creating successive layers of security measures – such that the facility is protected by numerous security controls, designed so that the failure of a single group of protective controls does not necessarily compromise the entire Data Centre.
The protection approach should start with a Threat and Risk Assessment, linked to an Operational Requirement the purpose of which is to ensure that the business needs are correctly understood. These, in turn, allow a layered defence model to be derived from a rigorous analysis of security requirements driven by a formal Risk and Threat Assessment model.
The protection strategy should take into account other key factors throughout its lifecycle from construction through to operational delivery of the business requirement and be reviewed regularly.
The Data Centre Protection Plan must be driven by the business’ overall strategy for security and resilience, and take into account the relation of the Data Centre to other critical business assets. In particular, it will need to address the broader business impact if the Data Centre becomes unusable and the role of the Data Centre within the organisation’s Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery strategy.
The Data Centre may be a single, stand-alone operation which could be a single point of failure for the business operation it underpins, or part of a more comprehensive network of Data Centres with primary, secondary or even tertiary Data Centres. Equipment, networks and software applications should be planned carefully if multiple Data Centre sites are used to support business operations.
Protecting the Data Centre
Successful protection and operation of a Data Centre rests on understanding and managing the complex relationship between people, processes, technology and the physical environment in which they operate. Effective protection and service delivery cannot be achieved without a balance between these critical components: Read further about the Data Centre Protection.
Data Centre Location Criteria
Any Data Centre needs a location free from natural or man-made hazards such as flooding and not close to hazardous operations, pollution or contamination. A reliable and stable power supply and the provision of utilities with genuinely diverse communications are essential. The site should be accessible to staff and not be in a high crime area where effective security measures are challenging.
Physical security of the site
Any Data Centre site should provide a layered approach to security which is planned as a single entity, for example with fences, gates, lighting and CCTV linked with access control measures. The perimeter should be demarcated and secured with a fence or other physical measures supported by appropriate surveillance and monitoring systems.
Site Intrusion Prevention and Detection
A perimeter with effective fencing will complement internal control zoning to protect critical areas. The external perimeter fence should be a monitor or patrolled. All entrances and doors to core buildings must be protected, alarmed and an appropriate access control mechanism provided. Active and passive electronic security can be used to supplement alarms and security physical measures. Threats from hostile vehicles should be considered. Car parking and goods delivery require separation and careful planning. Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS) can be perimeter, barrier, ground-based or freestanding complemented by CCTV monitoring cameras and a lighting plan.
Communications Routes and Diversity
Communication route diversity into the facility is essential to give resilience. Standby power can be provided by generators and UPS, communications cannot. If two providers are used ensure routing is physically separate and that all access points are locked. Communications routing to the site should not be obvious but this is difficult to achieve. It is important that accidental damage cannot sever all services to and from the site and that communications services are monitored at all times.
Keep vehicle parking away from the key areas and protect from ram-raiding. Access for deliveries should be segregated from normal car parking access. External areas should be monitored by CCTV and patrolled at irregular intervals. Fuel tanks and other essential environmental control equipment should be protected from accidental or malicious damage. Access to the roof or external gantry mounted equipment should be controlled and positioning considered for both ease of maintenance and security.
In designing or operating a Data Centre consider the building structure and building materials. Care must be taken when designing and operating reception. High-value assets should ideally be held in an inner sanctum (the Data Hall). Security monitoring should be extensive and layered in zones. Building structure protection must be re-evaluated as part of the annual Data Centre security review; the Building Management System, Control Rooms, Network Operations Centres, internal CCTV and environment/fire control systems are important parts of the overall protection/integrity plan and should be controlled appropriately.
Electrical protection schemes must be in place to ensure the resilience of all vital services and utilities with no single points of failure by design. There should ideally be two sources of mains power supply. Uninterrupted Power Supplies (UPS) must be available to ensure the critical business can continue for at least 30 minutes. The UPS is supported by standby generators which should be able to operate for 48 hours without extra fuel. These should be tested properly under load regularly to ensure they can deliver effectively.
Ventilation and cooling systems must be regularly monitored and maintained at an optimum temperature and humidity. Water supplies should be positioned to minimise the risk of potential damage and regular maintenance of all utilities is of paramount importance.
Potential issues like data loss and media errors have been reported by data centres due to the interference of dust and particulates with the electronic equipment leading to serious downtimes. The best way to prevent such careless downtimes in your data centre is to avoid issues before they show up. And the only way to do it is through regular cleaning of the data centre.
Power usage effectiveness (PUE) is a measure of how efficiently a computer data centre uses energy; specifically, how much energy is used by the computing equipment (in contrast to cooling and other overhead). PUE is the ratio of total amount of energy used by a computer data centre facility to the energy delivered to computing equipment. Read more about how to improve Data Centre Energy Efficiency.
For anyone in IT working with or within an organisation that has a sustainability strategy, achieving and reporting on energy efficiency will be critical for retaining customers and meeting sustainability key performance indicators. Energy for data centres rating tools can help you assess, compare and improve your data centre energy performance. It provides a reliable and easy-to-use benchmark which enables you to compare your data centre’s energy performance with others in the open market.
- IT Equipment rating
- Infrastructure rating
- The Infrastructure rating
- Whole facility rating
The Data Hall
The Data Hall contains all sensitive and essential systems holding customer data and should be protected as a ‘building within a building’. It often has a ‘raised floor’ under which essential power and other cabling services, including forced cooling air, is housed or delivered. Access should be limited to that personnel working in the data hall. CCTV coverage should be used to scan the aisles and key racks for security and health and safety. All networks, systems and Information Assets should be protected from electronic threats.
It is imperative that the Data Hall is to be kept scrupulously clean at all times as dirt contamination can increase the mean time between failure of computer and other electronic equipment dramatically. Data Centre assets must be valued and recorded in an asset register. All power, communications and other cabling infrastructure should be laid neatly in cable baskets or trays, tied in and labelled with records kept and updated.
Good management delivers effective services. A security policy is essential that is owned by senior management, managed by the security working group, and reviewed annually. All senior management, business leaders and security staff must have a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities.
Data Centre assets must be valued and recorded in an asset register as part of the Data Centre Protection Regime. Data Centre security managers should be involved in the recruitment of new staff. Business Continuity Plans must accommodate every possible instance of disruption. These plans should form part of the organisation’s broader resilience strategy and to be effective must be kept up to date and rehearsed regularly.
Network Operations Centre (NOC)
Sometimes called the Operations Bridge, the NOC is the nerve centre that controls hosting operations. It must be manned and controlled with appropriately skilled and security cleared staff in a room with strict access control. The NOC must be supported by UPS power. The NOC should be co-located with the Data Centre within the inner security area and afforded the same levels of resilience as the systems it supports and controls. If the NOC is not co-located the communications to the systems it controls become significantly more important to guard against failure.
People are key assets, the strongest and potentially the weakest link and the most likely source of risk and mistakes in any Data Centre operation. All staff should be recruited by pre-employment screening, security terms and conditions in their conditions of service and subject to a personnel security review process. Security and technical awareness and training are essential. Remember the ‘insider’ may present the greatest single threat to Data Centre operations.
Modern Data Centres
Modern data centres are being transformed in dramatic fashion. No longer singular, monolithic and inflexible designs, today’s data centres are influenced by “software-defined” concepts such as pooling, virtualization and abstraction. As a result, software-defined data centres are increasingly becoming the norm for IT organizations looking to reduce infrastructure costs, improve resiliency against unplanned service outages and make IT resources easier to manage and scale.
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When searching for a data centre in the United Kingdom, the British way of spelling data centre is the same as the data center in American English, so it is worth to search for the data center as well.