What Is a Data Center? (Datacenter Definition) – Lifewire
A data center, sometimes spelled as datacenter (one word), is the name given to a facility that contains a large number of computer servers and related equipment.
Think of a data center as a “computer room” that outgrew its walls.
Lifewire / Marina Li
What Are Data Centers Used For?
Some online services are so large that they can’t be run from a one or two servers. Instead, they need thousands or millions of connected computers to store and process all of the data required to make those services work.
For example, online backup companies need one or more data centers so they can house the many-thousands of hard drives they need to store their customers’ combined hundreds of petabytes or more of data they need to keep stored away from their computers.
Some data centers are shared, meaning that a single physical data center might serve two, 10, or 1, 000 or more companies and their computer processing needs.
Other data centers are dedicated, meaning the entirety of the computational power in the building is being used solely for a single company.
Large companies like Google, Facebook, and Amazon each need several, super-sized data centers around the world to accomplish the needs of their individual businesses.
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Data Center vs Data Warehouse for Dummies – NextPhase.ai
Cloud Data Warehouses – Mar 27 2020
Data Center vs Data Warehouse for Dummies
What’s a data center vs data warehouse? Easy answer. A data center is a physical place where servers are set up. A data warehouse is a data structure on a server, whether an on-premise data center or cloud-based. Read more.
What’s the difference between a data center and a data warehouse?
The difference between a data center and a data warehouse is easily seen: A data warehouse is a physical room or building where data servers and computers are stored. Whereas a data warehouse can’t technically be seen at all, it’s just a digital database in a server or computer. Per Wikipedia:
“A data center is a building, dedicated space within a building, or a group of buildings used to house computer systems and associated components, such as telecommunications and storage systems. ”
“A data warehouse… is a system used for reporting and data analysis, and is considered a core component of business intelligence. ”
For a bit of clarity and hierarchy, try this: Data is stored in a database, on a hard drive, in a server/computer, in a data center.
What is an on premise data center?
An on premise data center is data storage servers located on the premises of your company, or data warehouse provider/solution. Yes, it’s that dark, air-conditioned room you might walk by on the way to the office kitchen. In some cases, these can be huge rooms, and huge investments for companies. Plus, as the hardware becomes older, and obsolete, it requires purchasing new on premise data warehouse servers every few years.
What is a data warehouse?
Data warehouses allow businesses to share data within a network of different data sources. Generally, a data warehouse is intended to allow a business to analyze data, to be used for reporting, business insights, and advanced analytics. The intent of the data warehouse is to bring together previously separate data, and discover new insights based on how the connected data sources can now be used together. A properly structured and implemented data warehouse becomes a “single” repository for all data, allowing datasets to “talk to each other”. This connected data allows businesses of any size to discover new data insights that could lead to additional revenue. A data warehouse is designed for analysis, not record keeping.
What is a database?
A database is simply information organized in a certain fashion, commonly tables of columns and rows. These databases can store retail sales information, customer information, and any data you can imagine. Generally, the information in a database is intended to be used to record transactional information on a daily or regular basis. A database is not designed for record keeping, not analysis.
What is a cloud data warehouse?
A cloud data warehouse is a data warehouse in a cloud, not in a local physical room or building. Data warehouse architecture has been moving to the cloud, from on-premise data warehouses, because of several huge advantages:
Cloud data warehouses cost a lot less. Why? Generally, there are no licensing costs, nor long term contracts. Plus, because it’s a cloud, there’s no hardware to buy, nor maintain. And lastly, you pay less when your data storage needs are small — then you pay incrementally more as your data storage needs grow.
Generally, a cloud data warehouse grows with your data needs. As you have more data to store, or as you add new applications, your cloud automatically grows.
A more modern data warehouse architecture allows cloud data warehouses to process complex queries much faster. This is in part due to MPP (Massively Parallel Processing), and other modern data warehouse elements.
A cloud data warehouse can theoretically be implemented in minutes. Whereas, a traditional on-premise data warehouse could take weeks or months to build.
How much does a data center cost? Or a data warehouse cost?
The cost of a data center can be thousands or millions of dollars. The cost of a data warehouse is effectively nothing, as it’s just stored data. However the cost of storage, management, and staff escalates quickly. They’re really apples and oranges, just with similar sounding names.
Data Center Costs
Data center costs are generally large. A data center used by Nike or Facebook might cost $100 million or more. While a startup’s data center might cost $10, 000 or more. Generally, we see clients allocating $1 million or more to a data center.
Data Warehouse Costs
Data warehouse costs can start small, and grow quickly. It’s not uncommon for costs to start at $0. 20 per hour on a monthly contract. However, most companies don’t have small data warehouse investments. Generally, we see clients dedicating a budget of $25, 000-100, 000 per year to their data warehouse management.
Why would I implement an on premise data center?
There’s really only one reason we see to implement an on-prem data center: Compliance. If your business requires that you have complete control over and visibility into your data, then an on-prem data center is the only solution. For every other situation, a public cloud is a more cost effective, scalable, modern solution.
How long does it take to create a cloud data warehouse?
You can create a Snowflake cloud data warehouse in under an hour. However, creating the data warehouse, and implementing it to be useful are different things. We generally schedule about four weeks to evaluate the typical needs of a client for a cloud data warehouse
Top Cloud Data Warehouse Solutions
While there are a huge variety of cloud data warehouse solutions, we generally only recommend three:
When do I need a cloud data warehouse consultant?
Larger companies have the funds to consider hiring a full-time Data Warehouse Engineer. Startups and medium-sized businesses might consider a specialist consultant to help them implement and get rolling.
At, we help all sorts of companies migrate to data warehouses — from global companies to Bay Area seed startups. The common issues we’ve discovered is teaching teams to maintain their virtual data warehouse, and setup new dimension tables. We get a lot of follow up calls and emails asking for tweaks and additions. Our recommendation is to do exactly this way. Get an expert consulting team, like NextPhase, to help you migrate and get everything functioning perfectly. After you discover the power of this new advanced data analytics system, only then should you consider whether the ROI warrants additional investment — whether that be a full-time Data Warehouse Engineer, training an existing engineer, or simply continuing to work with a third-party like NextPhase.
Do I need a data warehouse consultant near me?
Working with a data warehouse consultant near you is an advantage for communication and workflow. Generally, close proximity makes those things more efficient. If your preferred data warehouse consultant is not nearby, make sure you select a data warehouse consultant that has an established virtual workflow, and who clearly communicates expectations and process. At, we work with local and global clients efficiently, and the key is a well-established process and communication plan.
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READ MOREThe 5-Minute Guide to Cloud MigrationThe Guide to Snowflake Data Warehouses
is a data cloud services provider specializing in Snowflake, cloud data management and analytics technologies. We accelerate enterprise digital transformation initiatives by leveraging our innovative cloud data management technology, “ DATAFLO” to optimize and rationalize disparate enterprise data into relevant insights. “DATAFLO” is designed to automate the lifecycle of data management transformation using AI and ML along with expeditious on-ramps to the Snowflake data cloud infrastructure. provides a range of technology consulting services for the Financial Services, Biotech and Technology industry sectors combining our platform-based services, seasoned talent, and industry proven methodology so our customers can harness more from their data. We are a Silicon Valley based company with global presence having delivered high value service engagements for numerous Global 2000 enterprises.
What is a Data Center? – Palo Alto Networks
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.
The Role of the Data Center
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.
The Core Components of a Data Center
Data center architectures and requirements can differ significantly. For example, a data center built for a cloud service provider like Amazon satisfies facility, infrastructure and security requirements that significantly differ from a completely private data center, such as one built for a government facility that is dedicated to securing classified data.
Regardless of classification, an effective data center operation is achieved through a balanced investment in the facility and the equipment it houses. In addition, since data centers often house an organization’s business-critical data and applications, it’s essential that both facility and equipment are secured against intruders and cyberattacks.
The primary elements of a data center break down as follows:
Facility – the usable space available for IT equipment. Providing round-the-clock access to information makes data centers some of the world’s most energy-consuming facilities. Design to optimize space and environmental control to keep equipment within specific temperature/humidity ranges are both emphasized.
Core components – equipment and software for IT operations and storage of data and applications. These may include storage systems; servers; network infrastructure, such as switches and routers; and various information security elements, such as firewalls.
Support infrastructure – equipment contributing to securely sustaining the highest availability possible. The Uptime Institute has defined four tiers of data centers, with availability ranging from 99. 671% to 99. 995%. Some components for supporting infrastructure include:
Uninterruptible Power Sources (UPS) – battery banks, generators and redundant power sources.
Environmental control – computer room air conditioners (CRAC); heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems; and exhaust systems.
Physical security systems – biometrics and video surveillance systems.
Operations staff – personnel available to monitor operations and maintain IT and infrastructure equipment around the clock.
Data centers have evolved significantly in recent years. As enterprise IT needs continue to move toward on-demand services, data center infrastructure has shifted from on-premises servers to virtualized infrastructure that supports workloads across pools of physical infrastructure and multi-cloud environments. There is an expression these days: The modern data center is where your workloads are.
Read Three Use Cases for Securing a Hybrid Data Center to learn more about the evolution of the data center as well as how to secure modern data centers and hybrid clouds.
Frequently Asked Questions about datacenter vs data center
What is the difference between datacenter and data warehouse?
A data center is a physical place where servers are set up. A data warehouse is a data structure on a server, whether an on-premise data center or cloud-based.Mar 27, 2020
What exactly is a data center?
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.
What is the difference between datacenter and server?
Data Center is a type of self-hosted deployment. The main technical difference between Server and Data Center is that Data Center permits multiple application servers running in parallel, whereas Server only permits one application server. … The answer depends on the size of the deployment and its business importance.May 30, 2018