All about Data Centers
What is a data center?
Data center is a physical site that includes computer facilities.
Its purpose is to store and redistribute data via the Internet.
Important components of a data center are routers, switches, firewalls, storage systems, servers, and application distribution controllers.
Data centers have modernized, the infrastructure of traditional on-premises physical servers is evolving into virtual networks in a cloud environment.
More and more numerous, more and more large, computer data storage centers have become a crucial issue for the development of the Internet.
Today, a large part of the data centers of the planet, are devoted to the reception of the servers used for the navigation on the Internet. All of them are subject to great computer security in order to protect the data stored in these particular places.
What are data centers used for in our daily lives?
These data centers host the billions of gigabytes of information on the internet. They also store data generated and used by individuals as well as businesses.
Whether these data centers are internal in companies,rented or coming from utilities,data centers are used by everyone on a daily basis:
- In financial institutions such as banks
- At online information providers
- For social networks
- For the management of mailboxes or instant messaging services
- For online gaming services
- Or in telecommunications companies…
From the moment you use a service through the internet: social networks, mailbox, web browsing … everything is recorded and stored in a data center.
Data centers: essential but polluting
The exponential growth in the number of data centers around the world to manage human activity poses a significant environmental problem.
The energy consumption essential to the operation of data centers as well as the rejection of heat emissions represent 2% of greenhouse gas emissions.
The carbon footprint of data centers is comparable to that of air travel. Data storage is likely to generate emissions of up to 14% by 2040.
According to recent studies, data centers currently hold 17% of the energy consumption of technologies.
Consumption is estimated to double every four years. The world’s data centers could use 10% of the world’s electricity generation in 2030, up from just 3% today.
Fortunately, there are many alternative methods to set up and operate amore environmentally friendly data center…
- Cooling data centers with freezing seawater, as in Finland for example.
- The ability to keep a small number of serversactive simultaneously.
- The use ofrenewable energies: wind turbines, hydropower plants or solar panels…
- The use ofartificial intelligence to set up means for better management of energy performance.
Data center security
The data center hosts sensitive and personal information.
Organizations need to ensure that they follow appropriate security measures to protect their data centers.
Threats are evolving at the pace of technological progress… The most effective data center security solutions include physical and virtual securitytools.
The physical security measures of a data center consist in protecting its infrastructure: the equipment must be physically protected in a secure place (lock, alarm, video surveillance…)
When it comes to virtual security,the cloud makes the data center more susceptible to cyber attacks. Some data centers’ network management software integrates security into their offering or is designed to work with other virtual security tools such as firewalls and intrusion prevention and detection systems.
Data centers in Switzerland
Switzerland currently has 93 data centres,mainly in Zurich and the Lake Geneva Region. In total, these data centers total an area of nearly 154,000 m2, or about 24 football fields.
The amount of data stored in these data centers could potentially double in the next 5 years, driven in particular by cloud giants such as Amazon, Google or Microsoft.
“GAFAM need this kind of infrastructure, because they want to get closer to their end customers. However, Switzerland has a lot of companies that have established their headquarters there. Also, they want to meet the new data protection requirements. Because from now on, the data must no longer leave the countries in which it is located, without the consent of the end user”
Explains data center and cloud computing specialist Stéphane Jaquet.
According to a report by real estate company CBRE, the Zurich region ranks sixth in Europe, after Frankfurt, London, Amsterdam, Paris and Dublin in termsof data center power supply.
Switzerland has an extremely reliable telecommunications network, with many interconnections of global operators. The electricity infrastructure is also of very good quality and reliability. Both of these elements are crucial to ensure data accessibility.
The Swiss climate is also favourable,with essential elements to cool the machines.