In 2017, at the Worldwide Developer Conference, in the opening video, Apple showed a very interesting thing. They wanted to highlight the fact that the world cannot be without apps. A data center employee accidentally unplugged the servers to plug in his waterfall, and in doing so, turned off the data center. This turned off all the apps and there was an APP-pocalypse.
What this also highlighted was that without data centers, most apps would stop working! Apps heavily depend on the cloud infrastructure that Amazon, Google and Microsoft (mainly) provide. So the app that you use most could stop working if the data center stopped working.
The data center needs to run perfectly if it is going to be able to deliver that kind of consistency. To ensure that it runs smoothly at all times, you have to keep in mind 4 main things:
- Structured Cabling
- Unstructured Cabling
Let’s look at all of these metrics in detail:
Servers require bulk Ethernet cables and there are two ways to set the servers up in terms of cabling:
- Structured cabling: This type of cabling uses predefined points of connection and pathways, based on already existing standards. The bandwidth required by the system determines the kind of cabling to use when it comes to structured design. You have to label the cables accurately. Structured cabling is a well-organized system.
- Unstructured cabling: This kind of cabling is Point-to-Point cabling. It does not have defined connection points or pathways. The airflow in this type of system can be restricted and this can create cooling issues. Because it is unorganized, it can be difficult to move or add servers to this system, and it increases the downtime in case of issues that need fixing.
In a setup, that has a huge number of servers: Ethernet cables, optic cables, and constant flow of electricity, it can get plenty hot. Excessive heat is not a good thing in such close quarters. So to maintain a cooler atmosphere in a data center, you can scale back on lighting. Once set up, it only requires little daily changes, so less lighting or special lighting, depending on the frequency of humans going in, can help in maintaining the temperature. Natural ventilation can also help to some level but you would need to outfit dedicated cooling units per a certain number of racks, as well as manage the overall environment. With a smart environmental management system in place, you can make sure that your servers shut down before succumbing to fluctuations in temperature.
A data center houses sensitive data about apps, customer data, etc. Therefore, it is imperative that you take measures to maintain tight security. You should install security cameras in a way that you can see all corners and aisles. They should also be of the kind that let you see any activity in low light. However, it is not enough to protect it against data breaches and human errors. You also have to have measures in place in case of natural calamities. Take into account the design of the infrastructure so that it can withstand earthquakes, floods, etc. These precautions can save you a massive loss of data and expense in the long run.
Just like you have to account for other calamities, you also have to keep in mind that electricity can stop without notice, for multiple reasons. This is why you have to have a backup power supply in case your electricity fails. This way your backup power kicks in before anything goes majorly wrong.
These are the four most important things that you have to take care of in a data center. Apart from these things, there are other equally important but second level details to keep in mind, such as what Ethernet cable you want to use, how many server racks you want to have, the material for the infrastructure, the lighting you want in the data center, etc.
The world needs apps, and apps function if you take care of these four things in a data center. Keeping it connected to the internet with the right Ethernet cable is the most important thing.
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