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2.2.15 Data centres

Data centres are a critical enabler of cloud computing. A data centre is a facility that provides the necessary services to host the largest computing environments in existence today. Its main function is to provide business continuity by keeping the computing services available because most organisations are dependent on their IT operations.

To provide the necessary level of service, several factors must be considered in a data centre deployment:

  • Location – Data centres should be located where there is reduced risk of natural disasters and sufficiently distanced from areas with high traffic of people (e.g. airports, malls, etc.) and areas of strategic importance to governments and utilities (e.g. refineries, dams, nuclear reactors, etc.)
  • Security – A data centre should extend tight controls over physical access and on-site personnel.
  • Electrical – There should be sufficient access to electrical power with backup power consisting of uninterruptible power supplies, battery banks, and electrical generators.
  • Environmental – A tightly controlled physical environment that maintains appropriate temperature and humidity. It should also include sophisticated fire suppression systems.
  • Network – The network infrastructure should be scalable and reliable with redundant connectivity.

Currently, there are over 3000 data centres in the world that offer general hosting services (IaaS) to individuals and organisations. There are many more data centres that are owned and operated by private industries for their own use.

Watch the Youtube video [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)]  for more information and a detailed tour of the Cisco Data Center in Allen, Texas.