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A data center is a repository that houses computing facilities like servers, routers, switches and firewalls, as well as supporting components like backup equipment, fire suppression facilities and air conditioning. A data center may be complex (dedicated building) or simple (an area or room that houses only a few servers). Additionally, a data center may be private or shared.
A data center is also known as a datacenter or data centre.
Data center components often make up the core of an organization's information system (IS). Thus, these critical data center facilities usually require a significant investment of supporting systems, including air conditioning/climate control systems, fire suppression/smoke detection, secure entry and identification and raised floors for easy cabling and water damage prevention.
When data centers are shared, virtual data center access often makes more sense than granting total physical access to various organizations and personnel. Shared data centers are usually owned and maintained by one organization that leases center partitions (virtual or physical) to other client organizations. Often, client/leasing organizations are small companies without the financial and technical resources required for dedicated data center maintenance. The leasing option allows smaller organizations to obtain professional data center advantages without heavy capital expenditure.