Data centres. What ARE they? What do they DO? EXPLAINED
We asked industry experts how they would explain a data centre to a five-year-old, and this is what they came back with:
Mateo Meier, CEO, Artmotion, explains:
“A data centre is a big building, with lots of computers in it, that stores information, videos and websites that people want to keep safe. It has a safe internet connection so that people can look at the information stored on its computer.
“Every time you look at your favourite website, or check your email, or look at Facebook, or Minecraft, your computer screen is showing you information that is actually stored on a computer in a data centre”
Steve Wharton, principal systems engineer at SanDisk, says:
“A data centre is a place where companies store and process information. It can be all the things that you see on the internet like pictures, videos, emails and messages or large complicated structures of data that need to be constantly analysed. Some data centres have so much data that they measure it in Petabytes. That’s lots of data – if you watched 1 Petabyte of TV, it would take longer than 100 years.”
Gert Jan Spinhoven, product line manager EMEA at ICTroom, puts forward:
“A data centre is like a really, really big iPad. In fact, it’s a large building that houses thousands of iPads – which we call servers – that are placed on shelves. On these servers, like on your iPad, there are apps that allow people to play games or do work. And, similar to what happens to your iPad when you have been using it for a while – when you are playing games like Minecraft – these servers get warm, so we need to cool them, so we can keep using them.”
Stephanie Weagle, Senior Director at Corero, says:
“Data centres are like the biggest and coolest Lego creation you’ve ever built. The data centre has lots of towers that are designed to take care of the technology that runs businesses; like banks, online video games, grocery stores and businesses where people go to work. Because data centres are taking care of so much important equipment, the bad guys are always trying different ways to break in to steal information and data.
“Data centres have lots of people in charge of looking after that information to make sure that no one takes it. It’s like putting all your Galaxy Trooper Lego guys on top of the tower to stand guard and protect the data center from the attackers trying to break in, or knock it over.”
Simon Champneys from Akita IT, explains:
“Data centres are huge buildings which hold loads of special computers called servers. There are also miles of cables and lots of flashing lights. You’ve never been to one and probably never even seen one, but they help make the Internet work. Without them there would be no YouTube, no Netflix and no Google. They are home to the engines which drive the Internet. If they ever break they cause sensible adults to morph into howling monkeys hurling bananas at engineers until they are fixed”