A data center is a crucial component of any organization’s IT infrastructure. However, not all data centers are the same.
Five distinct types of data centers exist, from small installations in closets and rooms to massive warehouse facilities. Read on to learn about their key features and how they differ.
Tier 1 data centers provide the bare minimum of uptime and security. They have only one power and cooling path so any disruption can impact IT operations. These facilities are also susceptible to outages due to planned and unplanned maintenance.
Unlike Tier 1 data centers, Tier 2 facilities offer redundant capacities, resulting in higher uptime and less potential for disruptions. They also feature N+1 redundancy for critical IT components like chillers and HVAC, allowing the IT team to swap out equipment without shutting down operations.
This level of resiliency makes Tier 3 data centers ideal for mid-sized businesses and large enterprises with demanding IT requirements. These IT environments often require a 24*7 online presence or high uptime for mission-critical applications. Tier 3 facilities have additional redundancy measures, such as dual-powered equipment and multiple power and cooling distribution paths. They are also more prone to disaster avoidance and have better compartmentalization, which improves the system’s ability to tolerate failures by physically segregating essential infrastructure components. They are also concurrently maintainable, enabling the IT team to perform routine maintenance and upgrades without disrupting hosted processes.
Small businesses often use Tier 2 data centers with less intensive IT needs and who can tolerate some downtime. These facilities have redundant capacity components and multiple paths for power and cooling distribution, which helps to mitigate issues like unplanned outages.
They also feature a concurrently maintainable design that allows IT staff to perform routine maintenance without interrupting ongoing operations. This is possible thanks to a system of redundancy in which primary infrastructure components are backed up by secondary backups that can support hosted business processes if the primary systems go offline during maintenance.
While a tier 2 facility is more resilient than a tier 1 data center, it can still have outages and downtime when the capacity components or distribution paths need offline upgrades or repairs. Those with more complex IT requirements and around-the-clock customer interactions typically opt for a tier 3 data center. These facilities have complete redundancy for critical IT infrastructure systems, such as storage, firewalls, power & HVAC, and networking equipment. They have two independent utility power supplies, two electrical backup generators, two UPS systems, and two different cooling systems.
Tier 1 data centers are simple and cost-effective options for businesses that don’t need much IT capacity and can tolerate limited downtime. They include sufficient power and cooling, an uninterruptible power supply for outages and spikes, and a facility with backup systems to ensure continuity of service. These include a generator with onsite storage facilities of 12 hours for power and cooling and a water treatment system that can handle an extended period without water (evaporative cooling).
Tier 2 data centers are a step above Tier 1 regarding reliability. They provide improved redundancy measures but not quite as many as Tier 3. This balancing act makes them a valuable option for businesses that don’t want to spend exorbitant amounts of money on near-unfailing uptime but need more than the single path of a Tier 1 data center.
Tier 3 data centers must be built to conduct maintenance and repairs without affecting client service. Redundant components and multiple maintenance paths often accomplish this. They also include 24/7 monitoring and security management.
A hyperscale data center is a purpose-built component of the global network that supports applications like cloud computing platforms, distributed storage, and big data processing. Companies that run these massive facilities prioritize automation, reducing manual monitoring time and expense.
They also emphasize scalability. The flexibility to scale horizontally, known as scaling out, or vertically, by adding more machines is essential for meeting the demand for high-caliber services like 3D rendering, cryptography, and genome processing. Moreover, building construction and layout are often based around pods pre-configured with all necessary networking infrastructure.
Because of their massive size and power consumption, these facilities are often designed with multiple redundancies to minimize downtime. Moreover, because the locations of hyperscale data centers are often geographically dispersed to facilitate quick rerouting of network traffic during disasters like hurricanes, they can operate in even the worst conditions. Additionally, DCIM software automates monitoring for more efficient, accurate management and control. This helps to maximize energy efficiency and improve operational performance. The scalability and flexibility that hyper scalers offer are some of the main reasons for the growth in popularity of their services.
The Edge data center provides a new way for companies to meet their IT infrastructure needs without costly on-premises facilities. They offer the advantage of lower latency and more excellent data handling capabilities while connecting to more extensive data centers that can handle heavy workloads and longer-term storage.
These newer, portable facilities are an excellent fit for mass events where connectivity is essential, such as the Olympics or World Cup. They can also serve as a solution for remote locations that may need to be more suitable to host an on-premises data center.
Tier 1 Edge data centers typically have redundant capacity components to protect against failures. They also provide a cooling system to maintain proper temperatures. This is a critical aspect of reducing energy consumption.