A facility used to house computer systems and associated components, such as telecommunications and storage systems. It generally includes redundant or backup power supplies, redundant data communications connections, environmental controls (e.g., air conditioning, fire suppression) and security devices. Large data centers are industrial scale operations using as much electricity as a small town and can be a significant source of air pollution in the form of diesel exhaust.
Historical perspective: In October 2012,
The New York Times
reported that the huge Internet data centers which store and process everything from old emails to Facebook data to Google searches, use about 30 billion watts of electricity worldwide--equivalent to the output of 30 nuclear power plants. Only about 10 percent of that evergy powers actual computations; the rest keeps servers running around the clock, so as to avoid any slowdowns that would annoy users.