Top data center myths we need to debunk

17.05.2023 1,344 4

Data centers are a critical part of the IT infrastructure. Without them we won’t have any of the popular services and features we enjoy today. Everything from social media to the majority of our emails, along with technologies like artificial intelligence and cloud computing would be impossible without data centers.

These days a lot of professions and entire industries depend on data centers. Despite that, these facilities are often viewed as something unknown and even mythical. Data centers are indeed very complex and a lot happens in them, despite their seemingly still, calm appearance of just big rooms filled with a lot of servers. And when there’s something complicated, often myths start to arise.

This is the case with data centers, too. They have their fair share of myths that are going around in the IT and corporate world. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular data center myths and debunk them.

Data centers only store data

The name says it all, right? These buildings are centers for data. So, logic would have it they only store the data. Well, they do that, too, but far from it. They also boast mighty computing power. Data centers also process the vast majority of data and features we all use. This includes video processing when we upload clips to social media, data analytics for various services and corporate platforms, and so on.

There are now niche data centers that are specifically built for a given purpose. Yes, technically they all store some sort of data. But they can have different goals. For example, a data center is built to handle artificial intelligence computing. Or a center for storing and processing videos.

Also, some data centers offer colocation services. This means clients can install their own hardware there to be looked after by the data center staff and get additional benefits like extra security, better connection, etc.

Another data center service is dedicated servers. Clients can rent an entire server in various configurations for their access only. Data center operators can offer specific additional features for example only for banking with additional security. Some operators segment their data centers for different purposes. This allows them to better cater to the various needs of industries, as no technology serves all vectors.

Data centers are only used by IT giants

Another common myth is that only big IT giants use and can afford data centers. While these companies do indeed have the most need for such facilities, they are not the only ones. These days any company can get the benefits of a data center. That’s why their services are open to everyone and the competition has brought prices down to make them affordable even for small businesses.

IT giants do indeed build and operate data centers, too. Most of them are for their private use. Some big organizations also invest in their own facilities and not all of them are IT companies. Big banks and government institutions also often build their own data centers. Or at least they used to. Now many of them are moving to the cloud.

Of course, the cloud also needs data centers. Some think that the cloud is replacing them, but in reality, both go hand in hand. The cloud may be replacing some of the private data centers, but it’s also motivating the accelerated build of hyper-scale facilities which accommodate the need for data storage and computing power for everyone – from IT giants to small startups.

Data centers are only for the cloud

Another myth is that data centers are only used for cloud services. They are a major part, but not the only use. As we’ve already established, data centers already are used for a lot of activities. The cloud is gathering the main attention and many data centers are specifically built to handle such services. And the cloud indeed relies on data centers. Without them, the cloud computing concept would not survive.

But data centers don’t need the cloud in the same way. The cloud is a great business opportunity for data center providers, but it’s not the only one. We’ve mentioned some of them already, like colocation, dedicated servers, rented shared servers, etc.

Data centers also provide the opportunity for smaller companies to get access to the type of hardware, security, and connections that normally would not be affordable for them. Thanks to data centers, companies can share costs and use first-class services that only big corporations could afford to build and maintain privately for themselves.

For many, that’s the true value of data centers. As this is how they allow companies to innovate and grow their business, bringing more value to the economy and society as a whole.

Data centers are bad for the environment

On the surface, data centers could be bringing a heavy toll on the environment. They consume vast amounts of electricity and water. They generate a lot of heat that needs to be dealt with, too. This also requires resources.

And while data centers can indeed generate quite the energy bills, that’s why operators have been investing heavily in optimizing every aspect of their facilities. And we do mean everything. Down to a specific temperature for the server rooms. Data center operators are innovating in clean energy sources, they are optimizing cooling and making sure they bring their carbon footprint down as much as possible. Many are aiming to eventually even be carbon negative, i.e. helping the environment rather than hurting it.

Also, some of the resources can be shared. For example, the heat can be routed and used to warm up local residences or buildings. This helps lower bills for the community and it means less use of other resources. And when a data center generates more electricity than it needs, it can also share it in the same way. Overall, the estimate is that data centers are a more efficient choice for the environment rather than having thousands and thousands of servers and computers spread in offices and other places, instead of being in a building and environment which is specifically designed for this.

Data centers are only in cold, remote locations

As data centers generate a lot of heat, it makes sense to build them somewhere where it’s colder, right? That’s what a lot of companies are doing, but we can’t have all data centers in the mountains or near the poles. Some of these facilities have to be closer to the cities and the places their resources will be most needed.

These days data centers are everywhere. Chances are there’s one in the mall you love going to. Yes, more and more operators partner with other organizations to build common projects and share floor space. This is how a data center can easily heat local communities and/or provide cheaper energy. And the data center itself gets the benefit of better infrastructure and other services which otherwise could be more expensive or not available at all at a remote location. And it’s also more convenient for employees and saves a lot of commute time.

There’s another reason for building data centers closer to the usage point. Some services, for example, banking, have specific requirements for the distance the center could be at. This ensures lower latency for data movements and increases precision. Of course, for some usages, the data center can indeed be very far away. For example, for social media or streaming videos.

Data centers are only in huge buildings

We can’t blame people for thinking this. After all, this is the major focus of the sector right now. A lot of data centers are going hyperscale which means massive buildings and huge investments. Even regular data centers usually are the size of a medium warehouse.

In reality, data centers are in all shapes and sizes. Literally. Some are very small and are even placed underwater near coastal cities. Others are taking advantage of advancements in technology and electronics and are shrinking their footprint to become much smaller – like a small warehouse, a local store, or even a house. Of course, they have limited usage, as they can’t offer the same massive power and resources as hyper scalers, but they do have their place in the world. For example, such small data centers are great for edge computing or for other local needs like handling the data management for a public transport network.

Data centers will take away jobs

Another common worry is that data centers take away jobs instead of creating them. For more reasons than one. For example, the heavier automation of technology means that data centers need fewer and fewer employees. And then, due to the big rise in technology in general, like the entry of artificial intelligence, that would also lead to a loss in jobs.

In reality, it’s the opposite. Data centers may not need a lot of employees for themselves, but they do create a lot of indirect jobs. First for construction, then for supplies and maintenance – both technical and physical. Next, the companies that use data center services have better chances to grow and need to employ more people. This way data centers bring added value to the economy. According to an Amazon Web Services estimate, each new data center in the UK brings between £397m and £436m GVA per year to the UK economy per year. That’s quite an impressive result.

Data center by Neterra

Sofia Data Center (SDC) is the brand under which the global telecom operator Neterra provides services in its 4 data centers SDC 1, SDC 2, SDC Stolnik and SDC Ruse.

They are ISO and PCI DSS certified contributing to its customers with a strategic location in Southeastern Europe, security, quality, competitive pricing, low latency and 24*7 professional technical support.

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