What is a data center?

what is data center

A data center is the technology backbone of any company regardless of industry. Computing giant Cisco defines a data center as the following:

“…a network of computing and storage resources that enable the delivery of shared applications and data. The key components of a data center design include routers, switches, firewalls, storage systems, servers, and application delivery controllers.”

Throughout this article we’ll touch on the inner workings of a data center, its purpose within a business, and which options are best for your business.

Over the years, data centers have evolved with the use of cloud storage to be optimized for communication. With the growth of cloud communication, data centers must now communicate with both public and private clouds, as well as other data centers.

The primary duties of data centers include:

  • The sharing of files and emails
  • Task application hosting i.e. Slack, Bitrix, etc.
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
  • Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Data
  • Processing AI, big data, virtual desktops, communications, and collaborative services as well as mobile application hosting and custom application hosting.


These aspects keep a company moving regardless of its product or service. When it comes to data centers, though important, they’re seldom thought about until something goes wrong. On a fundamental level, the data center handles network infrastructure- connecting servers, storage, services and, storage infrastructure, as well as external connectivity. Storage infrastructure – is an invaluable aspect that keeps the data safe. Finally, computing resources – this runs the applications, network connections, memory, and local storage.

With the level of importance that a data center has, security has to be at the forefront. Data centers are designed with things like firewall and intrusion protection, as well as mechanisms such as automatic failure and load balancing.

At Protected Harbor we’re proud to take security a step further. We utilize our hardware in our Protected Data Center which allows us to more precisely monitor and understand the depth of any issues that may occur since we know exactly what we’re looking for.

Operating our own private cloud allows us to develop proprietary technologies; TIP and AOA for example.  TIP is a Technology Improvement Plan; based on our experience of thousands of failures we have built an extensive database of what can cause an error.   When we onboard a client we check the existing configuration against our database and then we redesign the system, focusing on preserving the look and feel for the client, but in the background rebuilding the system for durability.  AOA is short for Application Outage Avoidance, that is where we can predict a problem and execute a pre-designed action to avoid an outage.  For example, if a server is running low on disk space, disk space is added to avoid an outage and then we contact the client to determine the reason and how we should adjust the system.

Although the technology differs from data center to data center, when you look under the hood you’re going to find a few constants when it comes to hardware regardless of the company. A typical data center will contain power subsystems, cooling systems, backup generators, fire suppression, and uninterruptable power supplies or UPS.

Different type of data centers

With all the variables that exist in the data center space, the types of data centers that exist are no exception, below are some examples of the types of data centers that are utilized.

            Enterprise Data Center – This style of data center is on-premise; built, owned, and operated by the company whose site it’s on.

            Managed Service Data Centers – Also known as Managed Service Providers or MSPs, this style of data center is managed by a third party. With this type of data center, clients will lease equipment and software from the MSP as opposed to purchasing.

            Colocation Data Center – A private cloud that a client rents in a data center that’s owned by this party company in an off-premise location. The data center is typically responsible for infrastructure, servers, storage, and security while the client provides the data.

Private Cloud Data Center – In this instance the client owns the data, not the servers.  The servers, licenses, and all aspects of the servers have owned the company providing the cloud.

            Cloud Data Center – An off-premise form of the data center. Data and applications are hosted by a cloud service provider such as Amazon Web Services, Azure, and the like.

Data centers have a vast range of styles, prices, and features. At Protected Harbor we separate ourselves from the pack not only due to our second-to-none security but our unrivaled support. Often the companies that fall under the Managed Service Providers or Cloud-Based Data Center will offer no support when it comes to configuration or resolving issues that may arise. We make sure that every client we work with is secure, monitored, and optimized for the best data center experience possible.

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