Keeping the Cloud in the Air

by: Jelle Frank van der Zwet, marketing manager cloud segment, Interxion

There’s no doubt cloud computing is officially engrained in today’s business landscape. With Gartner estimating the cloud services market will reach $150.1 billion by 2013, there’s tremendous market potential and companies of all sizes in all industries are taking advantage of it. Have you ever stopped to wonder about what the cloud actually looks like? Think about it. We talk about it all the time, and businesses are rapidly moving their applications and data to it, but how exactly do you visualize the cloud?

In fact, try a Google image search of “cloud computing” and see what you come up with. It might look something like this, with a sea of blue skies and fluffy clouds with various logos and diagrams pointing this way and that. Surely, this can’t really be what the cloud looks like. Something has to exist in order for us to have a better understanding of what the cloud actually is.

To help visually convey the concept of the cloud Interxion, a provider of carrier-neutral colocation data center services, has created several images that reveal the inner workings of its City of London and Amsterdam data centers – essentially, where the cloud lives. The data center images show the different aspects of high-availability data center infrastructure, such as power, cooling, connectivity and security, all of which are essential to ensure 24/7 availability for cloud environments and services.

Redundancy is important for the cloud services, because if the outside power supply fails, spare transformers and generators enable customers to access their data. For some customers, a second of downtime could significantly impact their bottom line.

With cold aisle containment, there is an enclosed environment that eliminates hot and cold air flows forming. This enables a data center manger to better control temperature. This is especially important because in a large data center, you have a lot of computers in that space, which can generate a lot of heat. Servers are kept together in units circulating cold air to moderate the temperature.

Security is key in the data center. Data center providers have a whole array of customers, many of them with very private information. The man traps provide extra assurance of keeping that information secure.

A transformer switch room is where the power comes into the building from the outside. From the transformer, it then goes out to a switch panel and then out to the data center floors. Switchboards and breakers direct the electricity once on the floor.

While the cloud is certainly moving businesses forward, it may not always seem as “light” and “fluffy” as many people might think. Critical elements of a data center, the home of the cloud, such as power, cooling, connectivity and security, all work together to ensure a successful environment for cloud services.

Jelle Frank van der Zwet is the cloud marketing manager at Interxion where he is responsible for managing the Cloud Hubs, Interxion’s sizeable and fast-growing cloud communities.

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