What Is A Data Centre And How Does It Work? (With Types)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 1 May 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Many companies use computers for different purposes, such as communication, accounting, storing information and various other business functions. A data centre is a home where all the company's computers, IT equipment, network, and stored data are operated live. If you want to apply for a data centre job, then understanding how it works can be helpful to you. In this article, we explain “what is a data centre” by reviewing its types and how it works.

What is a data centre?

If you are considering a career in information technology (IT), you may benefit from knowing "What is a data centre?". Data centres are responsible for monitoring and maintaining the storage of data and backend services. A data centre contains all the mainframe, servers and database of the company. It is a premise where the company's all the IT operations and equipment reside and where they store, analyse and distribute the essential data. Many companies require storing their data in different forms, such as emails and transactions on a server.

Servers are the computers that connect all the local computers and systems of a company and act as the mainframe. A data centre consists of various components, such as power supply, cooling system, network operations centre and several others depending on the demands of the client. It focuses on the physical security and reliability of the stored data. Data centres can be an important business asset in which companies invest and deploy the latest technologies for storage improvement, networking and computing operations.

Read more: How Much Do Data Analysts Make? (Plus How To Become One)

What are the types of data centres

The size of the data centres may vary from a server set up in a small room to a big warehouse of specialised servers. This depends on the amount of data and information the company gathers on a regular basis. Data centres connect the in-house computers with cloud technologies where workloads get distributed in several virtual public and private clouds. Here are the different types of data centres that companies use:

Co-location data centre

This is the type of data centre where the owner of data centres rent their space, equipment and bandwidth to the companies. Co-location centres are also known as carrier hotels. It is a scenario where companies avoid building their data centres in their own infrastructure and rent space in co-location centres. When looking for third-party data centres, companies look for the place with specific requirements of the clients.

Enterprise data centre

It is a type of data centre that is fully owned by the company itself. Enterprise data centre collects the information from all the sources and applications that the company owns and makes everything available for analytics whenever required. It becomes helpful for companies to store data in a logical and consistent manner.

Enterprise data centres save time and allow businesses to look for data at the exact place for developing data-driven business strategies. Enterprise data centres have their own special characteristics, like the flexibility of storing large amounts of data, connectivity to various types of business intelligence tools and the ability to standardise the data.

Read more: 10 Characteristics Of Big Data And How You Can Use Them

Cloud data centre

It is an online data centre where all the data gets stored on cloud servers. This type of data storage automatically fragments and duplicates the data over several locations for secure storage. The cloud servers provide the businesses with a backup of their data in case any failure or error with data occurs.

Edge data centre

An edge data centre is a smaller data centre that connects to one or more large data centres for delivering cloud computing resources and cached data content to their users and clients. These data centres are usually very close to their customers and allow them to reduce the latency. Edge data centres are useful for businesses that deal in autonomous vehicles, manufacturing, financial institutions, telemedicine and content delivery sectors.

Micro data centre

Micro data centres provide companies running on edge applications with a reliable, affordable and space-saving way of storing data. It provides all the services and components similar to the traditional data centres. Usually, the maximum capacity of these data centres for supporting critical loads can be 100-150kW. Micro data centres can be easy to build and may take a few hours or days, depending on the size of the demand.

Read more: Data Scientist Skills (With Examples And Tips To Improve)

How does a data centre work?

Data centres can store an enormous amount of data with a high level of security. A data centre contains thousands of powerful servers that run throughout the area, which can be as small as a room or as big as a building depending on the size of the data centre. Here are some aspects of data centres that can help you how they work:

Protecting power

Data centres help companies to make sure their business runs continuously even if something goes wrong or the business location loses its power. Servers kept inside the building of the company itself can be more prone to power loss and broadband issues. Data centres can be superior to traditional data storage systems.

In case of power outages, the generators allow the continuous operations of data centre cooling systems to keep going. It is the data centre manager's job to measure the performance and ensure uptime. Maintaining power, cooling accuracy and ensuring the energy efficiency of the overall structure are important steps in projecting power.

Performance at scale

Data centres allow companies to increase their capacity for handling concurrent users without sacrificing the performance of their applications. Data centre clusters may have thousands of nodes, which allows companies to dedicate a specific node to store data for a particular service while others can store remaining traffic. This strategic distribution of data saving methods provides customers with the highest quality service.

In case of sudden load spikes, data centres can help in avoiding performance degradation by increasing application throughout. This provides them with the ability to respond to threats and breaches effectively. Since the data centres can be completely focused on storing the data and keeping it safe, it is their daily job to deal with such situations. Businesses can find and contact the best data centres depending on the reviews of their previous clients.

Read more: What Are Data Entry Skills? (13 Examples And How To Improve)

Disaster recovery

Disaster recovery sites may reside separately from the production. In case a disaster occurs, a data centre can redirect users to the disaster recovery system and be back online within time. It can allow business operations to continue after an unexpected event. Sometimes unexpected events can destroy data, software or hardware systems.

The data centre team plans a well-documented strategic approach that includes instructions to respond to unexpected or unplanned incidents. They provide their clients with end-to-end services across support, consulting and implementation and help them to automate and streamline their recovery processes.

Security

Data centres provide businesses with physical and digital support systems that keep the applications and all kinds of data safe from possible threats. They use both network-based and host-based security tools, which include packet filtering technologies. When businesses look for data centre partners, security is one of the most important features they focus on.

Cyber attacks and data breaches can be the biggest threats to companies. This is why they establish secure zones everywhere within the network and lock down the servers and hosts if necessary. Scanning all the available applications and checking them for vulnerabilities can be an effective step that data centres take for maintaining security.

Read more: What Does A Data Scientist Do? And How To Become One

Technical elements of a data centre

Here are the technical elements of a data centre that businesses often require to store and manage the critical resources:

  • Compute: Usually, high-end servers provide this element of data centres. Compute is the memory and processing power that can be helpful in effectively running the applications.

  • Storage: The critical and necessary data of a business gets stored in a data centre on various forms of media that may range from tape to drives. Data centres store the data with multiple backups.

  • Networkin**g:** Networking represents the connection of various components of data centres to the outside world which can be application-delivery controllers, routers or switches.

Essential skills for data centre jobs

Candidates who want to get a job in data centres can gain the following skills:

  • data reporting and visualisation

  • expertise in statistics, modelling and probability

  • problem-solving skills

  • analytical skills

  • data programming

  • data mining and cleaning techniques

  • knowledge of big data analytical platforms

  • database management systems

  • machine learning tools

  • good communication skills

  • critical thinking

Explore more articles