A Data Center, or data center in French, is a place where the computer servers of a given network (e. g. that of a company, Internet, administration, etc.), as well as the data storage units of this network, are stored.
For a Data Center to operate optimally, certain conditions must be met, such as:
Data Centers are known to be very energy-intensive: in the United States some would consume as much as a city like Bordeaux or Strasbourg. Against this, several solutions are being considered and tested around the world to limit CO2 emissions (e.g. building Data Centers on the seabed).
The first advantage of Data Centers is security. Because Data Centers bring together in a single physical location the storage of sometimes billions of data, they greatly facilitate the security of the latter. The pooling of investments and costs between the various network players makes it possible to increase the level of security and reduce the cost per player compared to, for example, a company that previously had to have its own servers.
Secondly, Data Centers have enabled the great success of Cloud Computing: data is no longer stored on the computer devices themselves, but on remote servers grouped in Data Centers. The data are therefore duplicated and available at any time by the different users of the network concerned who can work together on the same data (e.g. a Word file).
Finally, due to their size and power, Data Centers allow the processing of ever more data, and therefore the advent of Big Data.
In 2018, France had 262 Data Centers on its territory, which places it in the top 4 countries with the most Data Centers, behind the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany.
In May 2019, the Marie de Paris officially opened its own Data Center.
It now stores all the digital data of the city's residents, as well as those of its various departments.
To reduce the 16 million euros bill represented by the project, the Paris City Hall allowed other public services (e. g. Assistance publique-Hôpitaux de Paris, Eau de Paris, etc.) to rent space on its servers.
The City Hall's investment should thus be amortised after 8 years, for a total lifetime of the Data Center estimated at 40 or even 50 years.
Whether you are a local authority or a private company, we offer you here a non-exhaustive list of tips to optimize the installation cost and performance of your Data Center.
On average, 30% of the servers in a Data Center would be useless or underutilized.
To avoid this, it is necessary to first virtualize infrastructure needs, and if possible, use the latest and most powerful server models. By doing so, for example, it is possible to save up to 70% of space.
To avoid excessive network complexity, which increases operating and maintenance costs, we recommend that any Data Center installer opt for a Software-Defined Network (SDN) solution. This solution provides a unified representation of the network while automating most tasks.
To further extend the benefits of a unified network vision, we also recommend adopting Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) solutions. These solutions allow, for example, to have a dashboard for all Data Center equipment. This allows proactive decisions to be made based on the actual use of the equipment, as well as anticipating a possible sequence of failures from an originally localized problem.
A Data Center can be very expensive in terms of energy consumption.
To avoid this, the adoption of previous guidance already allows:
Finally, we recommend the use, where possible, of closed-loop systems that would reuse the heat produced by the Data Center for various functions (e. g. water heating), or the use of Intelligent System Tuning (IST) technology, which adjusts server performance in real time according to users' needs.
With the development of the Internet of Things (IoT), ever-increasing amounts of data must be processed and stored more quickly, sometimes directly on these objects or as close as possible and for specific tasks that need to be automated. It is the advent of Edge Computing (e.g. for intelligent urban lighting).
Thus new types of infrastructures are developing, the micro-datacenters, dedicated entirely to understanding and performing a task on received data.
In this market, which already represents 15 to 20% of the turnover of some companies in the sector, the criticality and resilience issues are the same as for a Data Center and the same expertise is required for their installation.
However, it should not be assumed that this new system will replace the Data Center system: micro-datacenters will mainly perform the data processing role for Edge Computing, while Data Centers will still be essential for data storage. The two systems are therefore complementary and will grow together.
A question about the data centers ? Need to remove doubts in view of a future project ? Send an email to Benjamin Fradelle, Tactis Associate Director.