What Is Data Center Infrastructure?
Data center infrastructure, sometimes called IT infrastructure, refers to the physical hardware, equipment, and devices found inside a data center that enable digital business operations. These days, modern data centers come in many varieties including core data centers or critical facilities and increasingly, edge data centers that extend IT networks closer to end users. Many companies also use colocation facilities that handle the data center needs of multiple companies or cloud data centers.
Whatever the type of data center, all of these facilities rely on quality data center infrastructure solutions, which include both computing and non-computing components.
Computing Data Center Infrastructure Components
This category of data center assets includes computers, servers, networking equipment, and security devices such as firewalls. Think of these devices as the stars of the show because they house the data and support the processing that allows the business to operate. Everything else in the data center exists to ensure these compute devices always perform at their best.
Non-Computing Data Center Infrastructure Components
This category of data center infrastructure exists to support the computing devices. The job of this equipment is to deliver power, environmental conditioning, protection, and oversight to keep compute equipment running reliably and efficiently around the clock.
This second set of data center infrastructure components — even though it is in the supporting role — typically takes up the most physical space in the data center and often presents the biggest challenges or requires major decisions in terms of modern data center infrastructure design and data center infrastructure management (DCIM).
The support equipment in a data center typically falls into four categories:
Critical power. Critical systems need cost-effective power solutions to ensure ongoing and uninterrupted operations. Because utility power can be unreliable and sometimes unstable, data center infrastructure almost always includes one or more uninterruptible power supplies or UPS systems. Some data centers also use DC power systems. Either way, facilities need power distribution units or PDUs to distribute power to various pieces of equipment.
Thermal management. Compute equipment gives off a lot of heat, and that heat must be managed properly and reliably to ensure the right temperatures and humidity levels, which are needed to protect sensitive IT equipment. Thermal management infrastructure includes a wide variety of room, row, and rack cooling solutions that use different approaches and materials to cool equipment and reject the heat out of the data center space. With data center rack densities increasing considerably in the past few years, and racks above 20 kilowatts (kW) and even 40 kW becoming more commonplace in many facilities, the need for advanced and robust thermal management infrastructure will only continue to grow.
Racks and enclosures. Compute and supporting data center infrastructure components need to be housed properly and securely within the data center environment. Indeed, server racks are the backbone of a good data center infrastructure design that lets your business fully utilize your IT systems and capacity. Data center racks, cabinets, and enclosure solutions come in a huge variety of options and server rack sizes to provide the right levels of support and protection for a specific data center environment, as well as your unique business and IT requirements.
Monitoring and management. Data center managers need ways to continuously check on the health of their data center infrastructure even when they are not physically in the same room with the equipment. Monitoring and management solutions include a variety of hardware formats that can be embedded in or connected to devices to enable data center infrastructure management (DCIM) and deliver real-time insights into power, space, and cooling that helps data center managers more confidently manage capacity, reduce risk, and increase efficiency in the data center.
Bringing All the Data Center Infrastructure Together
While there are many pieces and parts that make up data center infrastructure, the most important thing is for all components to work harmoniously together. With the ever-increasing need for companies to bring data centers online and add compute capacity quickly, both in core facilities and at the edge, there is a growing trend toward standardization and prefabricated or “off the rack” data center infrastructure. According to a recent Omdia survey, 99% of enterprise data center operators say prefabricated, modular data center designs will be a part of their future data center strategy.
These solutions are typically faster and more cost-effective to deploy. They save floor space. And they are often modular, allowing you to control your investment and add capacity as you need it. Prefabricated and all-in-one micro data center solutions also feature pre-integrated data center infrastructure, which can be a major benefit in ensuring racks, power, cooling, and monitoring all work together for a comprehensive solution. Such solutions go a long way in preventing the headaches and hiccups that commonly arise during the deployment phase of a data center infrastructure project.
Data Center Infrastructure Solutions Available From Vertiv
From edge to cloud, Vertiv is a leading data center infrastructure company offering modern infrastructure solutions including complete power management, thermal management, racks and enclosures, and monitoring and management solutions. Our portfolio includes prefabricated modular solutions and comprehensive micro data centers to meet the growing demand for pre-integrated infrastructure that can be quickly deployed in any environment. Some of the most popular data center infrastructure solutions available from Vertiv include:
Vertiv™ SmartMod™ Modular Data Center Infrastructure. A rapidly deployable, stand-alone data center with all the capabilities you need to achieve your IT objectives, the Vertiv SmartMod provides UPS power protection, thermal management, racks, PDUs, and more in self-contained enclosures that can be deployed securely, virtually anywhere.
- Vertiv™ SmartRow™ DCX provides a complete data center in a row in just weeks, with multiple ways to configure for future expansion, power and cooling redundancy levels and emergency ventilation.
Visit the Vertiv Products and Services page to learn more about critical data center infrastructure technologies and rapidly deployable, customizable options available to build the right data center infrastructure for your unique requirements.