Networking, Software and Environmental Control - What is it?

Both Networking and Communication equipment are vital in a Data Centre to maintain a high-bandwidth network for communication with the outside world, and between the servers and other technologies within the Data Centre. This could include components such as leak detection systems, routers, switches, network interface controllers (NICs) and in some cases miles of cabling.

Cabling comes in many types of forms for example coaxial (copper) and fibre optic (glass or plastic). The various types of cables and their sub types will affect greatly the speed at which the data flows through the Data Centre. All wiring also must be organised – it’s either run overhead via trays hung from the ceiling, attached to the tops of racks or run underneath a raised floor. Colour coding and labelling are used to identify the various wiring lines. The raised floors of Data Centres usually have panels and tiles that can be lifted for access to get to cabling and other necessary components such as cooling units and power equipment in some cases.


Glass Optical Fibre Cable

Plastic Optical Fire Cable

RG59 Coaxial Copper Cable

All that wiring also must be organised – it’s either run overhead via trays hung from the ceiling, attached to the tops of racks or run underneath a raised floor. Colour coding and labelling are used to identify the various wiring lines. The raised floors of Data Centres usually have panels and tiles that can be lifted for access to get to cabling and other necessary components such as cooling units and power equipment in some cases.

Other vital Data Centre equipment includes storage devices such as hard disk drives, solid state drives, uninterruptible power supplies (UPS), back up generators and other power equipment. On top of this, Data Centres also have lots of equipment to handle temperature and air quality control – although the methods and types of equipment will vary dependent of the site. This could include fans, air handlers, filters, computer air conditioners (CRACs), sensors and water pipes. In some cases, some sites will put up plastic/metal barriers and chimney server cabinets to control the flow of hot and cold air to keep equipment from over heating and failing.

Another important factor is software - Software is needed to run all the hardware in the Data Centre. This will include various operating systems and applications running on the servers, framework software such as Google’s ‘Map Reduce’ allow work to be distributed over hundreds of equipment such as internet socket programs, system monitoring applications and virtualisation software like ‘VMware’ to help cut down the number of physical servers.


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