What are the effects Data Centres have on society?
I wanted to write this quick blog to explain the importance of data centre’s in today’s society and perhaps investigate some of the myths that consume so many when it comes to data centres.
Every second there are around 127 new IOT devices being connected to the web, some experts estimate that around 31 billion devices were installed and connected to the web in 2020. These devices all produce data. That data needs to be stored and accessible at any time, that is what a data centre is used for. That is one of the reasons as to why data centre workers were considered essential across the world during the pandemic.
What is a Data Centre?
A data centre is a building or a room within a building that houses servers. Inside these buildings is a vast array of sensitive high-tech equipment: power systems, cooling systems, security systems, air flow structures, fire detection and fighting systems, facility management systems, the list goes on with rooms of servers stacked high to keep and store all the data that we all are becoming so reliant on.
What does a Data Center actually do?
Every time you go on the internet, use your phone, tablet or any connected device, to send a Whatsapp message, check your Instagram stories or put a video on Tik Tok, that data needs to be stored. It can be stored locally but if you want someone to see it you need to share it.
We do this billions of times a day around the world. For example Facebook recently broke 100 Billion Whatsapp messages per day. We take and store over 1.8 billion photos per day according to Kleiner Perkins . That’s a lot of servers needed in a lot of data centers around the world. All stored and accessible to those who need it or have permission to see it.
So when you think of the output from a data centre, think data. Data is the export and Ireland boasts the largest cluster of data centres in Europe with over 25% of the market.
How is a Data Centre connected?
A Data Center is connected to the internet, no different to a home or business. They use a local provider and connect via fibre cabling. Data centres however need to interconnect. There are over 7,500 data centres around the world and they need to be able to talk to each other. This is done via the internet. You can dig into this particular topic here and the importance of it.
What is bandwidth and how does a data centre deal with it?
A lot of people seem to get confused that bandwidth is something to do with speed. In fact it’s the volume of data allowed over a network connection. This is measured in megabits per second (Mbps), bits are pieces of data.
Megabit being a million of them. To stream a 4k video on Netflix you need around 25 megabits per second. So let’s say you have a 100Mbps internet connection in your house. Imagine you have 4 people using that internet connection, one is watching the latest 4k movie on Netflix (25mbps), one gaming with friends (4mbps), one on Zoom (6mbps) and someone downloading a large file (10 mbps). All added up, that's 45Mbps. If you did not have the 100Mbps and let’s say a 40Mbps line at that moment everything would buffer. Chances are you would blame the internet speed when in fact its bandwidth.
So a data centre will use a lot more bandwidth then you or I. They will use Terabytes Per Second (Tbps). This is modern technology at its very best. A single network designed switch you can buy today will offer 1.28 Tbps of non-blocking bandwidth. That’s one trillion bytes per second. This level of bandwidth was unthinkable prior to the 21st Century.
These marvels of innovation are what will allow a company to stream a live NFL game to 30 million viewers in full HD quality with seamless streaming. This is all done out of a data centre transmitted around the world all at once.
Data centres play a critical role in how our everyday lives work. As we connect more and more devices to make are hectic days a little easier, capacity at data centres will continue to grow. Innovation is taking place around the world to make these data centres carbon neutral, since there is this on-going debate that data centres have a grave impact on the environment.
Today, at the click of a button we can order a taxi, food or even find a date. All of these are made possible with the rise of data centres. In the US the average household has 11 connected devices. This is estimated to grow to over 20 in only 3 years.
The demand for data centres will continue to grow and this trend will remain consistent over the next decade at least. The challenge that data centre operators have is power generation. How can the servers be cooled is the most carbon neutral way. Renewable energy is now and will remain key in our ever demanding lives.
Another key area that threatens the growth of the data center sector is talent shortages. At GemPool we have a huge focus on creating solutions that will assist the growth of Data Centers without using that already precious resource of employee time. Do see our data centre services page here for more information on how we can assist.
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