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Data centres are the core part of our modern world. They are responsible for keeping the world connected by providing a hub for storing, processing and sharing data and applications.

Today, global IT spending on data centres has reached $222 billion, showing just how important these have become for supporting the everyday functions of society as a whole. In short, the world would look very different without the power of data centres.

However, what actually is a managed data centre? In this guide, we’ll discuss the critical components of these data centres, how they’re managed, and how they work.

What are the key components of managed data centres?

The U.S. makes up the bulk of the world’s data centres, with more than 2,700 data centres located in the country, followed by Germany with less than 500. Despite this imbalance, the industry is growing fast in every major developed nation, including the UK.

Within a managed data centre, you’ll find the same standard components as in any other type of data centre, including:

Networking equipment
Storage technologies
Cooling systems
Cabling/power infrastructure
Physical security

What separates a managed service data centre is the customer-facing interface that serves as the customer management platform.

What is a managed service data centre?

Managed data centres are the core of Data Centre as a Service (DCAAS) packages. The purpose of these data centres is to provide the physical infrastructure to clients to manage their data processes.

While these data centres contain the same infrastructure as any other type of data centre, the goal is to outsource the computing power of each centre. The benefits of managed service data centres include providing flexible, scalable and affordable data centre capabilities to businesses and public services.

The popularity of managed service data centres has exploded recently, with the industry expected to reach $600 billion by 2026. In other words, by removing standard data centres’ logistical and budgetary constrictions, managed service packages allow businesses to stay in business.

How do managed data centres work?

Managed data centres are ideal for organisations lacking the space, staff or expertise to deploy an on-site IT infrastructure that serves their needs. Instead, outsourcing your data and IT operations to the experts is a sound choice so that you can concentrate on managing your business.

Within a managed data centre, the process works like so:

  1. The client will lease a dedicated server, storage or networking hardware.
  2. The client has full use of their leased hardware/software.
  3. The managed data centre is responsible for administration, monitoring and management.

However, a similar type of data centre is the colocation facility. Under this model, the client company owns the infrastructure and rents a dedicated space within the data centre. If opting for the traditional model, you’ll be responsible for maintaining this hardware.

This however, is often impractical for most companies due to the remote nature of data centres and the risk of outages. This is why many colocation facilities offer management and monitoring services.

Tasks involved in data centre management

Data centre management involves overseeing computer systems and the information passing through these systems on behalf of clients. A dedicated manager and their team monitor all management responsibilities. Again, the majority of these tasks may be managed 100% remotely.
So, what are the primary tasks involved in managing a data centre?
While every type of data centre serves a different market, the components and running of a managed data centre are largely similar. Moreover, failure in any area could lead to data loss, outages and loss of consumer confidence.

Data Backups

Managed data centres often provide backups and form part of disaster recovery contingencies for UK SMEs. The manager must ensure the integrity and availability of these backups.


Large scale computing environments require constant troubleshooting to prevent problems and maintain uptime.

Supervising Technicians

Despite the comprehensive automation that has streamlined today’s data centres, on-site work remains necessary, mainly when dealing with hardware. Part of a manager’s role is to supervise technicians in the course of their work.

Managing Cybersecurity Systems

Managed data centres are under near-constant attack from bad actors; therefore, data centre management must revolve around keeping state-of-the-art cybersecurity systems in check.

Forming a Physical Security Plan

Physical security is also a concern. Today’s security systems may still rely on human security guards, but most internal systems are electronic, including CCTV cameras, biometrics and more.

Supporting Data Centre Integrity

The components that make a data centre work also create new challenges. For example, managers must formulate cooling and cabling strategies to prevent outages.

Data centre monitoring

Monitoring makes up the bulk of operating a data centre. Business clients are paying first for the infrastructure and second for peace of mind.
Your goal in monitoring a data centre is to maintain its health and ensure it reaches its peak potential. Simultaneously, data centre monitoring ensures that the facility complies with external and internal regulations.
A combination of manual and automated tools are deployed to achieve these goals. While data centres have yet to reach 100% automation, most key functions can be managed remotely without human input.
On a side note, while many use the terms “monitoring” and “management” interchangeably, they’re not strictly the same.

Challenges of data centre management

Growing complexities within modern data centres also create unique challenges for the teams operating them. As part of designing and building a data centre, teams must account for these challenges to construct an infrastructure that overcomes them.
Failure in any one area can lead to a catastrophe. Today’s average data centre downtime cost is $740,000, 50% higher than in 2010, so prolonged downtime can cost millions.
So, what are the challenges you need to be aware of?

Power management
Capacity planning
The role of the Internet of Things (IoT)
Data security
Real-time reporting
Balancing efficiency and cost controls

On top of these challenges, data centres must tackle the problem of evolving government regulations. These concerns must be addressed domestically and globally to ensure that you give clients and the general public the confidence they need when sharing and using data.

At Keysource, we specialise in helping organisations to overcome the challenges of sustainable data centre design, building and management

Speak to our team today for tailored advice and guidance on creating and operating a data centre fit for the next generation of computing.

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