4 Tips for Designing a Modern Data Center

Modern data centers have shifted from traditional on-premises, physical servers to virtual networks in a cloud environment.

Before you find out the 4 tips for designing a modern data center, maybe we should talk about traditional data centers and how they differ from modern data centers.

A traditional data center is a locally operated facility, often on-premises at a company location, that organizations use to house their applications and data.

The key components of a design include routers, switches, firewalls, storage systems, servers, and application delivery controllers. They are ideal for companies who want full control over their data AND their hardware. If you can’t quite picture what that would look like, watch this short clip from Johnny Depp’s 2014 movie, Transcendence, where the traditional data center makes an appearance!

Modern cloud data centers shift from traditional on-premises, physical servers to virtual networks that pool into a cloud environment moderated and maintained by a company, like Microsoft, that has invested in all that hardware. This type of data center is more cost-effective since you won’t need as much hardware and in-house maintenance, and it’s more secure. While some companies may still require a traditional data center model, these cloud-based data centers are usually the best solution for most businesses.

Even though most organizations use either a traditional or a cloud data center, there are 4 different types of data centers models to choose from depending on your company’s data and building space.

Different Data Centers

Enterprise Data Center

The traditional data center that is locally operated on the organization’s grounds.

Cloud Data Center

This is a remote version of a data center – located somewhere off-premises – that lets you access your data through the internet. The cloud provider, such as Microsoft (Azure), conducts ongoing maintenance and updates that protect your data.

Managed Services Data Center

These data centers are managed by a third party and require the company to lease their equipment instead of buying it

Colocation Data Center

This type of data center allows companies to house their servers and networking equipment in a third-party data center. The data center takes care of the infrastructure like the building, cooling, bandwidth, security, etc., while the company manages the servers, firewalls, and storage.

Before we get to the tips for design, keep in mind that not every version of a data center is created equally. A company like Microsoft that has invested millions into globally redundant data centers with top-of-the-line security and hardware will provide a better experience than other competitors. A solution of that caliber might not be what your company needs, but don’t just design your data center around an idea. If a third party is managing your hardware and infrastructure, make sure you understand their security and hardware policies. Choosing a solution and designing it is about more than just understanding the types of data centers.

No matter which one you choose to go with, you should keep these 4 tips in mind.


1. Conduct an Assessment

First things first, you should run an assessment of your infrastructure. Do you want it to be on-premises? How much space do you need? What and how is this equipment being installed? Can you manage the power consumption and cooling system that is necessary for a data center? You need to ask yourself these questions to properly prepare for this data center and decide which model is right for you.

2. Prepare for the Future

Your data center design might suffice for your current company needs but will it 2, 5, or 10 years down the road? Having this idea will help you better plan your data center to accommodate future growth, making it easier to scale with your ever-growing needs while minimizing costs. One of the reasons why these modern data centers are so popular is because it anticipates that your business will need to change/or upgrade your network.

3. Create a Structured Infrastructure Plan

Whether you are using a colocation data center or hosting your own, you need to make sure you have some sort of structured cabling. Structured cabling can provide an organized reliable structure to your data center that can increase the speed and quality of the building’s data network. If you’re going to invest a lot of time and resources into this data center, you want to make sure it is simple to use, organized, and reliable. If you’re going with a managed data center, don’t skimp on the infrastructure plan! Make sure the business housing your data has the right hardware, accessibility, and security policies.

*Even though a cloud data center doesn’t need an infrastructure plan, it’s still likely you’ll need some sort of setup. For example, our technicians will help you configure custom policies that help better secure your employees’ devices.

4. Find an Experienced Contractor

Hire a local contractor who understands your assessment, plans, and data center landscape. Find a contractor you trust that will give you recommendations, help you avoid common design mistakes, and equip you with the right solution.


Talk to us about how we can find you a solution that is Simple. Convenient. Secure.

If you still have questions about Modern Data Center Design, you can contact us at learnmore@greatservice.com or fill out our contact us form.


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