Great Connections Happen Here.™

What are Data Centers?

A key element of data center functionality is keeping all information secure and neatly organized for retrieval and dissemination as necessary.

A localized, physical, digital processing facility, the data center consolidates all the information technology (IT) equipment that an organization needs to maintain internal computing functionality as well as internet/cloud connectivity. True to its name, the data center also serves as storage receptacle and management infrastructure for massive amounts of digital information. A key element of data center functionality is keeping all of this information secure and neatly organized for retrieval and dissemination as necessary.

The Physical Structure of Data Centers

While large and complex data centers may require their own dedicated buildings, smaller and less complicated data centers may occupy only part of a small room. Regardless of its size, each data center must provide ample space to house IT and data storage equipment while keeping each component within appropriate temperature and humidity ranges as specified by its manufacturer.

A data center must also house appropriate supporting components to ensure that its core collection of servers and computer equipment continues to operate at maximum capacity. Common data center supporting components include:

  • Uninterruptible power sources (UPS), such as
    • Battery banks
    • Generators
    • Redundant power sources
  • Environmental controls, such as
    • Heating
    • Air conditioning
    • Ventilation/exhaust systems
    • Fire-suppression systems
  • Physical security elements, such as
    • Biometrics equipment
    • Video surveillance equipment

Many data centers also incorporate redundant backup IT and data storage equipment in order to ensure uninterrupted operations under any foreseeable conditions.

Types of Data Centers

As unique as the organizations that they support, data centers are generally customized to meet specific wants and needs. In order to support common IT operations and information storage requirements, the average data center consists of multiple servers and pieces of storage hardware as well as racks to hold all this equipment and a system of cables to connect it all together. The average data center also supports multiple firewalls and/or other information security elements to ensure that all the information that it contains remains private and secure.

In general, data centers can be divided into two distinct categories: internet-facing and internal. Internet-facing data centers support active online connectivity to reach out to many users with unlimited access. These types of centers are typically browser-based and support relatively few applications. By contrast, internal data centers (otherwise known as enterprise data centers) are typically accessible to only a select group of users but tend to host a range of custom and off-the-shelf applications.

Depending on its size and complexity, a data center will require different types of operations staff to monitor center processes and maintain IT/data storage equipment on an ongoing basis.

The Modern Data Center 

Data center technology has advanced considerably in recent years, streamlining virtualization processes to optimize resource utilization and supporting a growing reliance on cloud-based services/infrastructure. In an attempt to reduce the enormous amounts of energy that data centers have traditionally needed in order to operate, the industry has stressed ongoing improvements in energy-efficient technology and environmentally responsible practices. Any facility that has been built to meet or exceed specific efficiency standards earns distinction as a “green data center.”

PS LIGHTWAVE is the consultative data-connectivity provider for public and private entities in the Greater Houston area. Through our high-quality infrastructure, innovative technology and superior level of support, we deliver not only the best in connectivity and reliability but in scalability and redundancy. You’ll also appreciate that the PS in our name stands for “Pure Speed.” We fully understand that technology is a moving target, and we understand the people and infrastructure of the Greater Houston area. We are nimble, flexible and responsive, and we embrace leading-edge technologies that improve the customer experience. We invite you to learn more. Visit our website or contact us. Concerned about connectivity? Think PS LIGHTWAVE.

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PS LIGHTWAVE, a leading telecommunications service provider headquartered in Houston, Texas, provides managed Ethernet Data Circuits, Internet, private network solutions and Voice over IP (VoIP) over one of the nation’s largest facilities-based private Metropolitan Area Networks (MANs). The switched Layer 2 network, backed by 24/7/365 Network Operations Center (NOC) support, encompasses approximately 5,500 route miles and 1,400 on-net locations and connects 100+ fault-tolerant multi-gigabit Ethernet rings for built-in redundancy, security, low latency, and high-availability. At PS LIGHTWAVE Great Connections Happen Here™.

For more information, please visit or call 832-615-8000.