data center definition

Contributor(s): Roger Godinho

A data center (sometimes spelled datacenter) is a centralized repository, either physical or virtual, for the storage, management, and dissemination of data and information organized around a particular body of knowledge or pertaining to a particular business. 

The National Climatic Data Center (NCDC), for example, is a public data center that maintains the world's largest archive of weather information. A private data center may exist within an organization's facilities or may be maintained as a specialized facility. According to Carrie Higbie, of Global Network Applications, every organization has a data center, although it might be referred to as a server room or even a computer closet. 

In that sense, data center may be synonymous with network operations center (NOC), a restricted access area containing automated systems that constantly monitor server activity, Web traffic, and network performance.

This was first published in August 2010

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