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Definition: datacenter


A facility that holds servers and related network equipment. The millions of servers employed by search engines and cloud computing providers are all housed in datacenters. Any mention of "the cloud" implies a datacenter somewhere, which typically has extremely tight security and may be built to withstand natural disasters. Housed in racks, large cloud computing datacenters contain tens of thousands of servers (see rack mounted and cloud computing).

Under the Ocean!
China is experimenting with an under-the-sea datacenter because ocean water is expected to be much more economical to cool the equipment. Planned for completion in the 2025 time frame, the rather small datacenter (4,000 servers) will be built off the southern island province of Hainan.

Early Datacenters
Up until the 1990s, a company's internal datacenter often included a data library for offline disks and tapes, as well as a control section that accepted work from and released output to user departments. See server farm, darkened datacenter, datacenter container, raised floor, KyotoCooling, NOC and data library.




What a Datacenter Looks Like
Today's datacenters, which contain racks of servers, are often devoid of humans except for installations and repairs. A control room manned by people may be near or far, but the servers themselves are often in rooms with dim lights or lights off. See rack mounted.






A Cold War Granite Bunker Datacenter
Housed in the former Pionen civil defense center 100 feet below Vita Berg park in Stockholm, Bahnhof AB offers Internet access and a variety of cloud services in one of the world's most unique and secure datacenters. (Image courtesy of Bahnhof, AB, www.bahnhof.net)