A data center is a special structure that houses network and server equipment.
What is a data center and what is it for?
What is the most important product in the world? Information. And usually, the information is stored somewhere on the Internet in the form of data. And for this data to always remain safe, data centers were invented.
Inside the data center, there are many stands with servers and network equipment where communication channels are connected. Placement in the data center can be purchased either as individual units or as whole stands.
The remote hands service is also very often offered by data centers. Remote hands is a service in which the client can entrust the execution of any tasks to the specialists of the data center.
With so much emphasis on proper storage, security, and handling of data, a business needs to find the right place to do it all. Good data management is what makes data centers an important asset for any company, large or small. But how to choose the right data center and what subjects should you pay special attention to?
Tiers of data centers
Data centers are divided into several tiers. These tiers are determined by many different parameters, these include redundant power supply, uptime guarantee, quality of the cooling system, and more. In simple terms, the tier of a data center is the level of service in that data center. There are 4 levels.
- Tier 1.
To be qualified as a Tier 1 data center, a data center must meet the following requirements:
If you are a small business, then a Tier I data center will be the ideal solution for you, as you are most likely looking for a cost-effective solution. These centers do not have many of the features found in larger centers, however, they may include a generator or a backup cooling system.
- No more than 28.8 hours of downtime annually. This is the highest downtime among data centers of all tiers.
- Lack of redundancy. At this level, the data center has no redundancy in any area of operation. There are no guarantees in the process of power and cooling.
- 99.671% of uptime annually. This is the least uptime a data center of any tier can offer.
- Tier 2.
To be called a Tier 2 data center, a data center must meet the following requirements:
Tier II data centers are often targeted at SMB customers. There are more guarantees of efficiency than those at Tier I data center. Such data centers can also serve more customers.
- No more than 22 hours of downtime per year. There is a fairly large leap in the downtime between the second and third levels. Availability of redundancy is one of the main reasons.
- 99.741% of uptime per year.
- Partial cooling and multiple power redundancy. The data center of the second level does not have redundancy in all areas of activity. Only two aspects are reserved - power and cooling. The redundancy in these areas is only partial. But still, no part of the system is fault-tolerant.
- Tier 3.
To be called a Tier III data center, a data center must meet the following requirements:
Companies using Tier III data centers are often growing companies or businesses that exceed the midsize business of SMEs.
- Fault tolerance N + 1 (amount required for operation plus reserve). The data center can carry out scheduled maintenance without disruption. Unplanned maintenance and emergencies can cause problems affecting the system. Problems can potentially affect customer service.
- 72 hours of power outage protection. This provider must have at least three days of exclusivity. This power cannot be connected to any external source.
- No more than 1.6 hours of downtime annually. This downtime is for maintenance and serious emergencies.
- 99.982% of uptime annually. This is the minimum uptime a data center can offer at this level. The reserve helps even in case of an emergency.
- Tier 4.
To be called a Tier IV data center, a data center must meet the following requirements:
Tier IV is considered an enterprise-grade service. Companies that do not have an international presence and consistently high Internet traffic usually do not require such a high level of service. Tier IV data centers, usually, have a site about twice as large as the tier III data centers.
- No points of failure. Tier IV data centers have redundancy for each process and data protection stream. No simple glitch or error will ever put the system down.
- 99.995% uptime per year. This is the level with the highest guaranteed uptime. It must be maintained for the center to maintain its rating.
- Infrastructure 2N + 1 (twice what is required for operation, plus a reserve). 2N + 1 is another way of saying "enough".
- The maximum downtime rate is no more than 26.3 minutes per year. Data centers must allow some downtime to optimize mechanical operations; however, this annual downtime does not affect customer service.
- 96-hour power outage protection. To meet the requirements of its tier, the infrastructure of the fourth level must have at least 96 hours of autonomous power supply. This power does not have to be connected to any external source and is completely the property of the data center. Some centers may have more.
What should be considered when choosing?
Here are some of the most important aspects to consider when choosing a data center:
- Location is one of the most important factors when choosing a data center. While you could save money if the center was further away, you risk losing some of the benefits.
- Reliability - Having a backup power supply is essential for a good data center.
- Security - Since all corporate data and applications are stored in it, a breach can be disastrous.
- The bandwidth of network services - all data centers have a capacity limit. Factors such as network reliability, speed, and even security can give you an idea of how strong a network is.
- Flexibility and Scalability - If your business faces many changing requirements as it transitions to different projects, you just need to find a data center that can meet your needs.
- Failure backups - a good data center know all points of failure and ways to mitigate risks.
- Reputation - as with any purchase. First, find out what reputation the data center has.