What is a data centre?

Data centre

A data centre comprises either physical or virtual IT infrastructure that is used to host computers, networks and storage systems and the associated components such as telecommunications systems at a central location.

The core objective of a data centre is to ensure that IT services and systems are always available, and that they offer a secure environment for data processing and storage. State-of-the-art data centres support a range of applications, from simple email and data servers to powerful cloud computing services and big data analysis.

Core components of a state-of-the-art data centre

Data centres are composed of many technical components. The most important technologies required for smooth operation include:

  • Servers: Servers are powerful computers or other IT hardware that are used to provide applications and services.
  • Storage: Storage systems include devices used to store data, including SAN (storage area networks) and NAS (network attached storage).
  • Network infrastructure devices: Network devices include routers, switches and firewalls, which ensure communication both internally and externally.
  • Security systems: Physical and virtual security systems include access control, surveillance cameras and encryption technologies that protect against unauthorised access.

Essential factors for data centre users Fire protection

It is vital that fire protection is taken into account when designing and operating data centres in order to guarantee the security of what is frequently expensive and often irreplaceable IT equipment and the data stored there. An effective fire protection strategy includes:

  • Early fire detection systems: Systems of alarms and sensors that give early warning of a fire.
  • Automated extinguishing systems: Gas-based extinguishing systems work very quickly to suppress fire without damaging IT equipment, for example.
  • Physical barriers:  Distinct fire protection zones and fire doors prevent fire and smoke from spreading.

Companies such as Cadolto Datacenter go even further with their modular construction system that provides added benefits for fire protection. The modular design allows specific parts of the data centre to be fitted with their own fire protection systems.

External fire protection prevents a fire in a neighbouring module or zone from spreading, or at least significantly delays the spread. In addition, the modular design allows specialist fire protection systems to be installed and commissioned more quickly as they can be integrated into the modules during the manufacturing process.