Never in the history of IT operations has the data center been more critical to the success of the global economy. Though increasing numbers of applications and data are moving to the edge, data centers remain the fulcrum of modern enterprises by hosting infrastructure at mass scale. These facilities can be corporate-owned and operated, secured in co-location centers, or fully managed by cloud service providers like Microsoft and Amazon. The rapid pace of technology innovation has required data center infrastructures to evolve to support the deluge of data, Internet of Things (IoT), and Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML). In this chapter, we discuss the journey from mainframes to modern hyperconverged systems running as part of a hybrid cloud computing operating model.
A data center is a physical facility in an organization that centralizes IT operations for hosting applications and critical data. The building blocks of a data center design include servers, storage, and networking components such as routers, switches, and firewalls that enable the delivery of shared applications and data. Facilities considerations must also be considered including the use of Uninterrupted Power Supplies (UPS) and Computer Room Air Conditioners (CRAC) to maintain environmental conditions vital for IT equipment operations.
Change is the new constant. The business climate, customer demographics, and target markets are changing radically, and it is evident that data centers are also evolving along with business needs. The following figure shows how data centers have evolved over the years:
Figure 5. Evolution of data centers