Data Center Hardware: The Basics – What You Need to Know

A data center usually refers to a large, centralized facility used by businesses to store their important data and process electronic information. The equipment in the data center helps keep critical systems running smoothly and sustainably. The hardware within a data center is essential for its proper functioning – from the servers to the networking equipment. Each component plays an important role in ensuring the smooth operation of the data center.

A Data Center Hardware Overview


Servers are central to your data center and play an important role in its operation. They contain processors, memory, storage, and other essential components hence generate, store, process, and transmit large amounts of information.


A data center needs racks to store the servers and other hardware. There are different types of racks – open, closed, 4U, 6U etcetera. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages – An open Rack is cheaper but less secure, and Closed Rack is more secure but more expensive.


Cables are the lifeblood of a data center. Different cables have different properties that are required for different systems. There are different types of cables – twisted pair, fiber optic cable, and power cables. Each type has its own unique properties that are required for efficient data transmission. Read about structured cabling types, components, and the important standards here

Networking Equipment

Networking equipment includes modems, routers, switches, and wireless access points. Routers and hubs help connect computers in a network with each other so that they can share files or access Internet connections easily.


A switch is a vital piece of hardware in a data center, it helps to manage traffic and ensure smooth communication between machines. There are different types of switches – blade, stackable and core-based switches.


The storage system components in a data center consist of the following:

Disk drives: The disk drive is the primary storage device. It has a hard disk or solid-state drive (SSD), or Flash Storage.

Controllers: The controller is a device that controls access to all the disks in the system. A single controller may have many disks attached to it, or there may be multiple controllers in one system.

Memory banks: Memory banks are used for storing temporary files that aren’t needed very often or permanently stored files that don’t need to be accessed very often.

Power Equipment

Power equipment is any device that generates electrical energy. These systems also need to be able to handle large loads of electricity. Some examples of power equipment are PDUs (power distribution units) generators, circuit breakers, transformers, and UPSs (uninterruptible power supplies).

Cooling Systems

It is essential to have a proper cooling system in place to protect the hardware from overheating. The three main types of cooling systems are air conditioning, water cooling, and thermal management. Air conditioning is the most common type of cooling system.

Security Systems

Data centers need to be both secure and efficient to keep your data safe. It is important to have an integrated security system that covers all the bases. The security system components in a data center usually involve a Physical Access Control System, Fire and Security Detection System, Intrusion Detection System, and Surveillance Cameras.

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