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A lights out data center is a server or computer room that is physically or geographically isolated at an organization's headquarters, thereby limiting environmental fluctuations and human access. Unnecessary energy used for lighting and for maintaining a proper climate around frequently used doors can be saved by going lights out.
Along with saving energy, by keeping the data center dark and climate controlled, limiting human error is one of the main advantages of this approach to IT management. When many people have access to a data center, this increases the chances of a cable being knocked loose, a power cord being stepped on, memory being tampered with and any number of other small occurrences that can cause nightmares for IT administrators.
Some other benefits include:
A lights out data center may also be referred to as a lights out server farm, server room, data room or server center.
A lights out data center is basically sealed off from the rest of a building and the majority of the people working within it. The data center can even be housed in a separate building that may be miles away or even in another country.
One potential problem with using lights out data centers is that resource management, climate control, troubleshooting and all other tasks must be handled remotely. That said, the remote access hardware and the resource management software make this a relatively easy job.
Excepting external factors like an earthquake, geographically separated lights out data centers can be just as reliable as having a data center located within an organization's headquarters. In reality, the probability of an earthquake, explosion or direct lightning strike is much lower than the probability of someone spilling soda on the power supply or forgetting to lock the server room door. For this reason, a lights out data center will often be much more secure and reliable than a traditional, in-house server room.