What is a Data Center? | Verito’s Knowledge Base

Data Center Guide - Verito Technologies

You might have heard or read about data centers if you have been using cloud technology or cloud hosting solutions specifically. You might have even read about data center tiers that most cloud solution providers highlight to define service quality. 

Ever wondered what exactly a data center is? Let’s explore this concept in detail.

What is a Data Center?

A data center is a facility comprising storage systems, networked computers, and computing infrastructure for organizations to process and store their business data. Depending on the scale at which a business operates, an organization may have its data center or utilize third-party cloud services, which benefit from different data centers to deliver Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS). 

Data centers are meant to centralize the IT operations and equipment of organizations while also ensuring data security and reliability. Since a data center houses a company’s proprietary assets, its infrastructure is highly controlled and secure to support workloads and applications across cloud environments. 

How Does a Data Center Work?

A data center facility enables an organization to collect its infrastructure and data processing and storage resources. It also includes:

  • Systems to store, share, access, and process data across the enterprise
  • Physical infrastructure to support data processing and communication capabilities
  • Utilities including electricity, cooling, network security access, and UPS

It is meant to protect proprietary data and systems, centralize IT needs, apply information security controls to the hosted data/systems, and realize economies of scale. 

What are the Types of Data Centers?

The following table covers different types of data centers in brief:

Type of Data Center


Enterprise data centers They are owned, managed, and utilized by organizations for their internal computing needs. They are custom-built to fulfill specific business requirements.
Managed services data centers These data centers are deployed and managed by third-party service providers who in turn offer data center facilities to different companies under a leasing model. 
Colocation data centers They allow businesses to rent a space within an off-premise facility that hosts the infrastructure, security, power supply, cooling, and other components. Here, the business manages its own components (servers) housed in these data centers.
Cloud data centers They are an off-premise variation of data centers and offer hosted infrastructure on lease. They are managed by third-party service providers that allow their clients to access cloud computing resources via the Internet. 
Edge data centers These are small facilities that are meant to solve the problem of latency by being located closer to the edge of the network/data source geographically.
Hyperscale data centers These facilities house hyperscale computing infrastructure for distributed computing environments to allow the users to scale from a few servers to hundreds of servers or even more efficiently.

What are the Core Components of Data Centers?

Data center architectures can differ significantly depending on the requirements. However, its efficient operation is achieved with a balanced investment in the facility and equipment. Given below are the primary components or elements of a data center:

  • Facility

This refers to the usable space that houses various IT equipment. Since data centers facilitate round-the-clock access to data, they are some of the most energy-consuming facilities in the world. Therefore, they are designed to utilize space and maximally abide by environmental control regulations. 

  • Core equipment

These include storage systems, servers, network infrastructure, switches, routes, software, and security elements to facilitate IT operations and data/software hosting. 

  • Support infrastructure

This includes UPS, computer room ACs, HVAC, exhaust, and security surveillance systems. All the equipment contributes to the maximum availability of data centers.

  • Data center operational staff

It covers the staff hired to monitor data center operations and maintain its infrastructure around the clock.

Data Center Standards (Tiers I-IV)

Data center standards help evaluate the reliability and quality of the server hosting ability of different data centers. Here, the Uptime Institute’s four-tier ranking system is used as a benchmark to classify data centers. This ranking system ranges from:

Data Center Standard Description
Tier 1
  • Used by small businesses
  • No redundancy available
  • Ensures 99.671% uptime which corresponds to 28.8 hours of downtime in a year
Tier 2
  • Has partial redundancy in cooling and power
  • Ensures 99.749% uptime which corresponds to 22 hours of downtime in a year
Tier 3
  • N+1 fault tolerance to provide 72-hour of power outage protection at least
  • Ensures 99.982% uptime corresponding to 1.6 hours of downtime annually
Tier 4
  • 2N+1 fully redundant capabilities
  • 96-hours of power outage protection
  • 99.995% uptime
  • 26.3 minutes of downtime in a year. 


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