The Heart of the Web

A datacenter is a truly beautiful place. However, like a geode, it can be hard to see the beauty from the outside, so lets take a look inside, shall we?

Within the fortified, bland walls of a datacenter, is a thriving ecosystem. A datacenter can really be thought of as a ‘heart’ of the World Wide Web. Without the servers in a datacenter, the Internet would not exist as we know it.

Once you’ve made it passed a multitude of security systems, you will find before you rows upon rows of ‘cages’. In most cases, these cages are locked fences around racks, or stacks, of servers. In the best datacenters, you will find each cage with its own air-conditioned system, blowing in cold air and sucking out hot air, to keep the servers healthy.

Each of these racks can be holding around 40 (1U) servers. Some of these servers will be housing 10+ websites/applications, while others will be just a piece of a much larger server infrastructure. Each of these servers is connected to ISPs, and possibly switches, routers, load balancers and firewalls. (Hopefully in a N+1 redundant format!).

Within each of these servers you will find RAM, HDDs, RAID Controllers, NIC, power supply, and CPUs. And, if we go deeper, we will find Operating Systems such as Linux and Windows.

Behind the scenes you will find massive backup generators, with enough power and fuel to keep the datacenter pulsing in the event of unforeseen disasters.

It is easy to overlook all the pieces that come together to form one of the most important structures in our society – datacenters. They are the backbone of the web, and thus for many, the backbone of a business and way of life.