Understanding Data Center Infrastructure

May 25, 2021
March 8, 2023
powered by Typeform

Data centers and data center infrastructure is everywhere. Throughout the world, there are presently 7.2 million data centers storing, processing, and disseminating vast quantities of data.

Businesses and enterprises across the globe rely on data center network infrastructure. Power grids, banking and commerce, government agencies, telecommunications, and retailers are dependent on sound data center design and data center services.

Simply put, the world revolves around Big Data, and data centers are at the center of that.

Everything You Need to Know About Data Center Infrastructure

Data centers operate most commonly on a data center infrastructure diagram that consists of a three-layer hierarchical design with each layer or module serving a distinct function. 

  • Access Layer - That point within a system where clients and users access the network.
  • Aggregation Layer -- Also known as the distribution layer, the aggregation layer links the access layer to the data centers’ core using aggregation layer switches.
  • Core Layer - Also referred to as the backbone of any network. Here information packets are routed to various distribution devices at very high speeds.

Data center infrastructure design is an intricate and complex process that cannot be approached lightly. In order to fully understand data center’s and how they are designed, you first have to understand the many components. Let’s take a look at the various parts of data center infrastructure. 

Components of Data Center Infrastructure

While data center infrastructure differs depending upon its function, there are many devices and units that are common data center infrastructure components:

  • Servers -- Servers act to connect various devices (called clients) to a shared architecture that provides a service. For example, sharing data, or performing computations.
  • Routers -- Routers direct the traffic of the server. It controls what data packets get sent where. Typically data will get sent to multiple routers before it reaches its destination.
  • Data center power infrastructure, air conditioning, power and cooling services -- Power is the most important aspect of data center infrastructure. Power, cooling, and air conditioning control the environment around the servers, ensuring that there is no buildup of moisture or overheating.
  • Storage systems -- Storage systems are the memory of a server. Storage systems control data within a server, how it’s stored, who has access to it.
  • Firewalls -- Firewalls guard a private network from unknown, outside networks. Firewalls analyze incoming data, allowing some data into the network while excluding other data.
  • Application-Delivery Networks -- Application-Delivery Networks (ADN) are a group of tools within a server that makes it easy and secure for users to access online applications, such as websites. 

Data Center Cabling Infrastructure

Linking all data center devices together is the data center cabling infrastructure. This infrastructure becomes the information highway where packages of information make their way from server to user and back again.

Several kinds of cables are employed in modern data center cabling infrastructure, with use, function and performance dictating which form of cable is used where:

  • AC/DC power
  • Ground wires
  • Copper cables
  • Fiber optic cables

Additionally, the miles of the cable must be organized in a physical configuration:

  • Waterfalls -- cascading bundles of cables that break away at strategic points for easy organization and access.
  • 90-degree bends -- a device that forces cables into an unnatural 90-degree angle for organization purposes.
  • Cable retaining posts -- hold cables in place to prevent disorder. 

An ill-conceived cable infrastructure can have disastrous effects on data center performance, including crashes and downtime.


Data Center Infrastructure Management Tools, or DCIM Tools, monitor various key server metrics such as:

  • Power
  • Cooling
  • Traffic flow
  • Load balance 
  • Performance of the system 

They also provide valuable reporting tools for capacity planning to ensure infrastructure and resources meet users’ demands.

Cloud Data Center Infrastructure  

At its core, data center physical infrastructure houses an enterprise’s mission-critical IT. Initially, an onsite footprint, physical infrastructure stored, managed, and shared essential applications and information.

Firms specializing in data center colocation lease facility infrastructure and space to multiple shared tenants. Expenditures are reduced through the cost-sharing process, but the equipment is individually owned and maintained. 

Relocating data center network infrastructure to a colocated facility generally offers the enhanced redundancies and protections of a tier 2 center and maybe a viable expansion alternative to an onsite presence as IT needs to grow.

Cloud data center infrastructure utilizes the internet to access data center applications and activities. In addition to economies of scale, and reduced costs in terms of capital expenditures, maintenance, and personnel, the cloud data center manager administers all data center infrastructure requirements. 

We’re seeing this reflected in how many businesses are turning towards the cloud: one Flexera study showed that more than 90% of enterprises have a multi-cloud strategy, with adoption rates and cloud spend only set to increase due to COVID-19. 

Data Center Network Infrastructure Compatibility

Not all data center network infrastructure arrives with plug-and-play compatibility. 

Legacy systems and their components may not pair well with new technology, individual and unique manufacturer devices may have specific operational requirements, and corporate acquisitions and mergers may attempt to combine data center infrastructure and data center infrastructure requirements that do not mesh.

Navigating issues of infrastructure compatibility can be a costly, time-consuming endeavor for businesses without significant expertise in data center infrastructure requirements and data center infrastructure design.

Finding a data center consultant with the requisite product knowledge and expertise is critical when looking for seamless data center operation.

Your Partner In Data Center Infrastructure Design

Data center infrastructure requirements are unique to individual business enterprise needs. 

Further, data center infrastructure requirements will change as your business develops and grows. Everything from your server rack design to your server network architecture needs to be taken into consideration. 

With continual advances in technology, you need a trusted advisor to guide your data center infrastructure design.

Quadbridge addresses your IT questions and challenges with a needs-based approach to meet your specific IT needs. We solve business challenges first and select product technology second.

Our clients receive:

  • Access to powerful industry partnerships, flexible sourcing, and on-call access to manufacturer resources.
  • Logistic flexibility with the ability to charge multi-currency to any country (USD/CAD). We can connect your global teams to the best tools and tech on the market, simplifying the way regions manage their business IT.
  • Our full attention to know and understand your business needs and build long-lasting relationships so we can be agile in our approach to managing your IT.

In addition to data center network infrastructure, we have expertise in cloud data center infrastructure, enterprise-level storage, as well as servers, and networking.

Quadbridge outperforms with end-to-end IT solutions and managed services

Client profile

Industry: Environmental
Employees: 25-50

✓ Managed IT

✓ Managed M365

✓ Managed Backup

✓ Professional Service

✓ Managed Endpoint

After supporting Waterloo Biofilter with an office move, they quickly switched fromtheir current Managed Services Provider to Quadbridge. We now manage their entireIT environment and support their end-to-end IT needs.

The challenge

  • The client was un happy with their MSP
  • The client needed a partner who was responsive, proactive, and would implement IT best practices for their organization
  • They needed onsite and report support for ongoing IT management activities as well as complex, specialized projects

Our solution

• Quadbridge worked with the client to implement our Elite IT service thatprovides ongoing IT monitoring and management, responsive help desk,proactive service, and vCIO consulting

• We’ve become a fully trusted partner and have proactively led a number ofinitiatives to improve performance and advance their IT, including thefollowing services:

• Managed Cloud Backup: we optimized their backup strategy with anaccessible, cost-efficient cloud-based backup solution that our teamcontinuously monitors and assists with restore requests.

• Infrastructure Architecture: we upgraded their server infrastructure toimprove redundancy and performance – especially for employees workingremotely.

• Ad Hoc Requests: as the clients’ IT support, our team uses our range ofexpertise and onsite support capabilities to deliver on a range of simple andcomplex IT projects. These have included upgrading their conference roomsystems and completing a functional and aesthetic clean up of their cabling

Return to the blog

Need to review and upgrade your technology?

Let us help you choose the right solution for your business.

Talk to an expert today!1 800-501-61721