What is a data center?

Data centers are relatively new in our urban landscape. In fact, most people are not even aware that they exist. A data center is often an anonymous-looking industrial building, used to house computer systems and associated components such as connectivity and storage systems. It has redundant or backup power, redundant data communications connections, cooling installations,  fire safety systems and various security devices.  Taking all of this into account, large data centers are enormous operations on an industrial scale.

The importance of data centers
Data centers are the main enablers of the digital economy. Data centers facilitate  a wide range of activities across government, business and society. They play a key role in the digital infrastructure and entail energy efficiency. . With annual double digit growth, Dutch data centers are of great value to the Dutch economy as they bring revenue and employment. Aside from the direct influence, data centers have a remarkably positive effect on foreign direct investments, indirect revenue and indirect employment.

“Data centers are the main enablers of the digital economy”
Everything that happens online takes place in a data center. Data centers make up the heart of the digital infrastructure and are its foundation. This infrastructure includes internet exchanges, cloud exchanges, cloud providers, web hosting providers, internet backbone carriers, content delivery networks, internet access providers and fiber operators. All are centered in data centers to enable the Internet and online services to function accordingly.

In a nutshell, our digitally driven lives would come to a halt without data centers.

Key features of data centers

A professionally managed data center has backup systems that are too expensive for most companies to purchase and maintain. Redundancies in cooling, power and communication systems ensure continuous connection that is essential to any business. Uninterrupted up-time means perpetual  access to your organization’s data and servers by staff and customers.

Data centers bring huge efficiency benefits. By concentrating IT equipment in one place and by operating data center facilities more professionally, huge amounts of energy are being saved compared to on-premise situations. Without data centers, our society would use more than double the amount of energy to the current situation.

A data center is a low-cost solution to getting high-end equipment and services. If your IT department would have to fund everything by itself – a clean room, redundant systems, around-the-clock monitoring – you would have to devote a high share of your company’s total budget to keep the servers operational. When you colocate, you get exceptional data center equipment at a fraction of its total cost. On top of that, imagine the additional costs when your on-premise IT has down time and your employees are not able to do their work.

When you devote part of your office space to server cabinets and other IT equipment, expanding that area becomes a challenge as your business grows. With data center space or colocation, you have flexibility to expand your requirements, paying only for the space and power you need and only when you need it.

Casualties occur, but when your mission-critical equipment operates off-site, it doesn’t have to negatively  impact your business. Colocation is a good strategy whether you use your data center as a primary home for your servers or as a mirror site to ensure uninterrupted  connectivity during an emergency. Think of a data center as another basket for your most important eggs, stored in a safe place other than your office.

Each data center is an ecosystem of providers offering all kinds of digital services. The amount of network providers, internet exchanges, content delivery networks, ad-exchanges and cloud providers offers a unique platform for a company that enables him to make the best decisions. Depending on the needs of your company, a strategically chosen data center location is essential for (future) success.