Data centers, also called a server farm, is a facility used to house computer systems and associated components, such as telecommunications and storage systems. It generally includes redundant or backup power supplies, redundant data communications connections, environmental controls (e.g., air conditioning, fire suppression) and security devices<br />Requirements for modern data centers<br />IT operations are a crucial aspect of most organizational operations. One of the main concerns is business continuity; companies rely on their information systems to run their operations. If a system becomes unavailable, company operations may be impaired or stopped completely. It is necessary to provide a reliable infrastructure for IT operations, in order to minimize any chance of disruption. Information security is also a concern, and for this reason a data center has to offer a secure environment which minimizes the chances of a security breach. A data center must therefore keep high standards for assuring the integrity and functionality of its hosted computer environment. This is accomplished through redundancy of both fiber optic cables and power, which includes emergency backup power generation.<br />For small and medium businesses, an in-house server hosting facility is an expensive proposition in many ways:<br />High initial investment in space and equipment<br />High day-to-day management costs<br />Hiring and retaining personnel to maintain the data center<br />High cost of upgrading technology and acquiring newer services<br />Physical layout and components of Data Centers<br />A data center can occupy one room of a building, one or more floors, or an entire building. Most of the equipment is often in the form of servers mounted in 19 inch rack cabinets, which are usually placed in single rows forming corridors between them. This allows people access to the front and rear of each cabinet. Servers differ greatly in size from 1U servers to large freestanding storage silos which occupy many tiles on the floor. Some equipment such as mainframe computers and storage devices are often as big as the racks themselves, and are placed alongside them. Very large data centers may use shipping containers packed with 1,000 or more servers each; when repairs or upgrades are needed, whole containers are replaced (rather than repairing individual servers)<br />Local building codes may govern the minimum ceiling heights<br />Other components of Data centers are:-<br /><ul><li>Power—Elements of the power infrastructure include the electrical service entrance of the building, main distribution, generator(s), uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems and batteries, surge protection, transformers, distribution panels, and circuit breakers.
Cooling—Systems that remove heat from the data center include computer room air conditioners (CRACs) and their associated subsystems—chillers, cooling towers, condensers, ductwork, pump packages, piping—and rack- or row-level cooling or air distribution devices.
Cabling—Data cables use different materials and connectors to optimize performance and flexibility, while the management of the systems maintains this optimization for the long haul. Power cables are also addressed in this paper.
Racks and physical structure—The most critical of these elements are the rack structures housing IT equipment, physical room elements such as dropped ceiling and raised floors, and pathways to manage cabling considerations.
Management—To have reliable facilities, it is important to have visibility of all of their physical components. Management includes systems, such as building management systems, network management systems, element managers, and other monitoring hardware and software
Grounding—This covers the common bonding network and grounding gear that protect your data center investment from electrostatic discharge.
Physical security and fire protection—Subsystems included here are physical security devices at the room and rack level and fire detection/suppression systems.</li></ul>Advantages of setting up date Centers:-<br />Financial Gains: Small and medium companies have a lot to gain by opting for data centers. For one, there is an enormous amount of money to be saved (between 25%-75%) on infrastructure, technology and human resources. This leaves them free to concentrate on their core business areas.<br />* Better Connectivity: Acquiring and maintaining a T1 line or a fiber optic line to connect your networks is an expensive proposition.<br />Moreover, if your ISP turns out to be unreliable, you could lose valuable business. Provisioning a T1 or fiber optic line at a data center is economical and most centers support multiple ISPs through fiber optic lines or VSAT. Also mission critical servers at data centers with fully redundant network connections, ensures that business critical applications will always run smoothly.<br />* Easy disaster recovery: Data centers also create disaster recovery sites. In the event of a snag with the primary server, the entire network automatically switches to an alternate mirrored site within a few minutes. So outsourcing disaster recovery also costs much less than what it would to set it up in-house.<br />* Improved Network security: Most data centers offer state-of-the-art network security, including fully updated firewalls / IDS applications to detect and prevent unauthorized intrusions into their clients’ systems. They employ qualified technical personnel with certifications like CCNA and MCSE to monitor the networks 24X7 and alert clients of any potential trouble.<br />The main purpose of a data center is running the applications that handle the core business and operational data of the organization. Such systems may be proprietary and developed internally by the organization, or bought from enterprise software vendors. Such common applications are ERP and CRM systems.<br />A data center may be concerned with just operations architecture or it may provide other services as well.<br />Often these applications will be composed of multiple hosts, each running a single component. Common components of such applications are databases, file servers, application servers, middleware, and various others.<br />Data centers are also used for off site backups. Companies may subscribe to backup services provided by a data center. This is often used in conjunction with backup tapes. Backups can be taken of servers locally on to tapes., however tapes stored on site pose a security threat and are also susceptible to fire and flooding. Larger companies may also send their backups off site for added security. This can be done by backing up to a data center. Encrypted backups can be sent over the Internet to another data center where they can be stored securely.<br />Disaster Recovery is one of the key advantages of Data centers. <br />Disaster recovery is the process, policies and procedures related to preparing for recovery or continuation of technology infrastructure critical to an organization after a natural or human-induced disaster.<br />Disaster recovery planning is a subset of a larger process known as business continuity planning and should include planning for resumption of applications, data, hardware, communications (such as networking) and other IT infrastructure. A business continuity plan (BCP) includes planning for non-IT related aspects such as key personnel, facilities, crisis communication and reputation protection, and should refer to the disaster recovery plan (DRP) for IT related infrastructure recovery / continuity. <br />Gartner on Data Centers<br />The total data center capacity in India is expected to reach 5.1 million square feet by 2012 and is projected to grow 31 percent from 2007 to 2012, according to Gartner, Inc. The data center industry in India is expected to double its capacity in the next two years, and captive and hosted data centers capacities will grow at comparable rates. In the long term, India has the potential to become a hub for data center hosting for nearby markets such as Middle East, East Africa and Southeast Asia. There is enough capacity and diversity of network connectivity to these regions to allow applications to be managed out of India. <br />Data Center Space Forecast for India (Square Feet in Thousands)<br /> 200720082009201020112012CAGR (2007 to 2012)Captive*7261,2091,7232,1452,3912,57129%Hosted*6111,0901,7492,1082,3712,57333%Total Data center space1,3372,2993,4724,2524,7625,14331%*Note: Only facilities with gross space capacity of and above 1,000 square feet are included. Captive data centers include those being outsourced to system integrators (SIs).<br />