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Data Centre Publications

  • techUK techUK
    Friday11Jul 2014

    What is a data centre? What have data centres ever done for us? How do data centres impact our lives? Find out with these techUK publications.

You may never have seen a data centre, but modern life wouldn't function without them. Find out why.

Below you are able to download the educational publications published by techUK's Data Centre Council. The publications aim to provide the reader with an initial understanding of Data Centres; answering what they are, how they impact your life, how they power the wider economy etc.

We want these papers to be a useful resource for the Data Centre community to educate their audience on the basics of the sector.

Er, What IS a Data Centre?

This paper describes in simple terms what data centres are, what they do and why we have them.

Data centres are relatively new features on the UK's urban landscape. In fact, many people are unaware that they even exist. Often occupying boring-looking industrial buildings or nondescript offices, data centres take the form of rooms or halls packed full of computing equipment, patrolled by small numbers of geeky looking individuals who talk in a language only vaguely related to English. Nobody seems to understand why they are there or what they actually do, which in most cases appears to be shrouded in secrecy. Yet data centres underpin an incredible range of activities across government, business and society and are now part of our critical national infrastructure whether we like it or not. So it seems worth finding out a bit more about them.

The report explains what data centres are, what they do, why we need them. It sets out the different kinds of data centre and some of the most common data centre business model, explains some of the terminology and provides an estimate of the number of facilities in the UK. It also includes a basic Jargon Buster.

Data Centres, a Day in YOUR Life

This paper demonstrates how often we use data centres during even a mundane day.

Most people think that data centres are nothing to do with them, and that they are the preserve of government, large ICT companies, and banks. But in reality data centres, and the services they provide, pervade our lives. Often without realising it we now rely on data centres for even the most mundane activities. That means that during even a rather boring day, we use data centres dozens, if not hundreds of times. So we thought we would track a fairly typical working day to see how many times a data centre gets involved. This infographic sets out what we found.

So What Have Data Centres Ever Done for Us?

This paper explains the economic value of data centres and how they generate growth and jobs in the UK.

Hidden behind fences in boring looking buildings, data centres often go unnoticed and it is easy to dismiss them. In reality, data centres are a fundamental – but unrecognised - part of our critical national infrastructure. Data centres underpin an incredible range of activities across government, business and society and are now part of our lives whether we like it or not. We have to face the fact that our digital economy and our highly networked society rely on data and connectivity being managed securely and efficiently. If we want to live connected lives then we need data centres.

Data centres enable and power service economies in the way that heavy industry used to power manufacturing economies. Due to the accelerating demand for digital data this sector is growing rapidly and generating skilled jobs and economic value. And as it grows, in turn it improves competitiveness and underpins growth in an astonishing range of businesses. Data centres are the agents of growth for the knowledge economy.

Data Centres and Power: Fact or Fiction

This paper debunks some common myths about the way data centres use power

Nobody really understands what data centres do or how they do it. As a result, a whole mythology has built up around them. This mythology in particular focuses on the way data centres use energy. These notes identify and address some of the common assumptions about the way that data centres use power. These are expressed as a series of assertions that have actually been made about data centres. Against each assertion we have explained whether it is true or false and why. The assertions are loosely grouped into themes. These include power use (the amount and type of energy that data centres use), efficiency (how effectively energy is deployed in data centres), consumer perceptions (our limited understanding of how networked devices really work), future trends (how the industry is – or should be – developing) and calculations (worked examples to demonstrate that we need to get our sums right if we are going to make claims one way or the other).

Data Centres: Engines of Growth

This image demonstrates how data centres drive economic activity

Data centres enable and power service economies in the way that heavy industry used to power manufacturing economies; they are the agents of growth for the knowledge economy. This image shows how data centres drive economic activity on two levels. Firstly, building or operating a data centre generates a complex supply chain and rapidly growing demand for a wide range of specialist services. A single data centre therefore acts as an engine of growth in multiple economic sectors, from engineering to planning consultancy, from security fencing to publishing. Secondly, a single data centre supports multiple layers of economic activity through its customer base. Businesses use data centres to underpin offerings from webhosting to systems integration, from fleet logistics to in-silico design. In this way a single data centre can provide IT functions for hundreds or even thousands of businesses; it improves productivity and generates employment and growth within its customer base.

Climate Change Agreement (CCA) for Data Centres report

Target Period One: Report on findings


For more information please contact:

Data Centres - a day in your life (pdf)Er what is a data centre (pdf)So what have data centres ever done for us (pdf)Data Centres and Power - Fact or Fiction 1 (pdf)Data Centres engine of growth 1 (pdf)CCA First Target Report final (pdf)


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