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A data center is a facility that centralizes an organization’s shared IT operations and equipment for the purposes of storing, processing, and disseminating data and applications. Because they house an organization’s most critical and proprietary assets, data centers are vital to the continuity of daily operations. Consequently, the security and reliability of data centers and their information are among any organization’s top priorities.
In the past, data centers were highly controlled physical infrastructures, but the public cloud has since changed that model. Except where regulatory restrictions require an on-premises data center without internet connections, most modern data center infrastructures have evolved from on-premises physical servers to virtualized infrastructure that supports applications and workloads across multi-cloud environments.
Data centers are an integral part of the enterprise, designed to support business applications and provide services such as:
Data storage, management, backup and recovery
Productivity applications, such as email
High-volume e-commerce transactions
Powering online gaming communities
Big data, machine learning and artificial intelligence
Today, there are reportedly more than 7 million data centers worldwide. Practically every business and government entity builds and maintains its own data center or has access to someone else’s, if not both models. Many options are available today, such as renting servers at a colocation facility, using data center services managed by a third party, or using public cloud-based services from hosts like Amazon, Microsoft, Sony and Google.