Tuesday 3 April 2012

Everything you want to know about colocation - Part 2

Your typical Data Centre will have a number of measures which will significantly reduce any potential downtime such as;

Cooling – Servers can and do get hot. If the temperature gets too hot then it can start to affect and damage the internal hardware components. As such they work much better in a cool environment and it is this reason that a good Data Centre will always have a robust air conditioning system in place which will alert should the temperature increase above a certain level.

Power – It is equally important to have a number of power and backup power options. Most Data Centres have at least 2 incoming power feeds which would then be fed into a power distribution control, which in turn is supported by UPS (uninterruptable power supply’s) batteries and diesel generators. The UPS devices will also protect against power surges and spikes whilst the power distribution board will intelligently route power from the appropriate device in the event of an external power failure.

Internet – Since collocated hardware is always somewhere on the internet then it also makes perfect sense to ensure that the internet is always available in a Data Centre. Therefore it is usually the case that there are at least 2 (depending on the size of the facility) high quality, fast and reliable internet feeds coming into the Data Centre building. These are in most cased provided on fibre connections and can offer speeds of up to 10Gbp/s typically.

Security – You need to know that your equipment will be kept safe and that it will not be tampered with by others. Many Data Centres provide lockable rack space so that only you and the Data Centre staff have keys to access your server or servers. In some cases it is not feasible to have dedicated lockable rack space (certainly if it is just one server) so a number of clients may share a rack. In this instance it is commonplace for the Data Centre staff to accompany any user visits so as to ensure that they are only working on their own equipment. Many Data Centres have complex alarm systems and are manned 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

There are so many services now that are turning into ‘Cloud’ based services which means that the demand for good quality Data Centres is on the increase. Just recently we have seen the introduction of the video streaming service from Netflix, Apple’s iCoud service, hosted Exchange and Microsoft’s SkyDrive, these are all services which run on servers, somewhere in the cloud, or more accurately on some hardware sat in a Data Centre.

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