The Data Center’s Role in Cloud Computing: Infrastructure, Hardware, and More

Posted by Duke Robertson on July 14, 2022

| Categories: Data Center

Cloud computing plays a critical role in most organizations’ IT strategies. The cloud enables organizations to become more agile, scale IT resources to meet growing demands, and implement new services that increase revenue and create competitive advantages.

According to the Flexera 2022 State of the Cloud Report, 96 percent of organizations use at least one public cloud. Almost two-thirds (63 percent) are now heavy cloud users, meaning they have more than 25 percent of their IT workloads in the cloud. Nearly three-fourths (74 percent) spend more than $1.2 million annually on public cloud services.

Despite widespread and accelerating cloud adoption, the cloud concept remains nebulous for many people. What exactly is the cloud? How does it differ from an onsite data center?

How Does Cloud Computing Work?

More than a decade ago, Peter Mell and Tim Grance of the National Institute of Standards and Technology published a definition of cloud computing. According to Mell and Grance, cloud computing is “a model for enabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.” It comprises five essential characteristics:

  • On-demand self-service
  • Broad network access
  • Resource pooling
  • Rapid elasticity
  • Measured service

Note that there’s nothing in the definition about cloud computing being provided by a third party or located outside the corporate IT environment. In fact, 84 percent of organizations have at least one private cloud, according to the Flexera report.

What Is a Cloud Data Center?

Cloud data centers house all the technology required to power the cloud. Cloud services are not as nebulous as the name implies. They still require servers, storage, networking gear, and related data center technologies, just like on-premise IT services. Key technologies, including virtualization and automation, are integrated with the hardware to give the cloud its distinct characteristics. Data centers for the largest cloud platforms are often referred to as hyperscale data centers because of their massive scale and scope.

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The Role of the Data Center in Cloud Computing

To fully understand the cloud, it helps to define the role and function of a data center. A data center encompasses all equipment, personnel, and other resources needed to support one or more IT services.

Centralizing these resources allows organizations to maximize efficiency, realize economies of scale, and better protect sensitive systems and data. Achieving these objectives is especially important with cloud computing hardware and infrastructure.

Cloud Computing Hardware and Infrastructure

A cloud data center has the same basic infrastructure components as an onsite environment, including racks and cabinets, power distribution, backup power, cooling, and cabling management. However, cloud data centers are designed with different priorities in mind.

Cloud Data Center vs. Traditional Data Center

  • Management efficiency. Due to their scale, cloud data centers need to maximize the efficiency of the IT personnel who operate them. This requires consistency throughout the data center and careful attention to rack and cabinet design, cable management, and other features.
  • Availability. Downtime means lost revenue and potentially lost customers for cloud providers. Cloud data centers are designed with high levels of redundancy to minimize the risk of power or cooling failures or network outages.
  • Cost efficiency. Cloud providers must support their customers at the lowest possible cost to remain profitable. In addition to maximizing operational efficiency, cloud providers focus on cooling efficiency and power management.
  • Scalability. Cloud service providers need to scale their resources rapidly to meet the demands of multiple customers. To maximize the available real estate, cloud data centers are dense, with significant amounts of computing power per cabinet.

Enconnex data center infrastructure products are manufactured to the highest standards, with the flexibility and cost-efficiency to meet a wide range of needs. We’ve worked with some of the biggest names in the cloud provider industries to enhance their technology. Alibaba Cloud is one such example. Whether you’re a cloud service provider, an enterprise customer, or a small to midsize business, contact Enconnex for expert advice and quality products for your data center.

Contact the Experts

Posted by Duke Robertson on July 14, 2022

Duke is the Vice President of Product Management and Marketing at Enconnex. He brings over 25 years of experience in a wide range of disciplines including product management, design, manufacturing, and development. Previously, Duke was at Chatsworth Products where he spent 14 years managing all products for cabinets, communication infrastructure, and containment

Tags: Data Center

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