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Mastering Data Center Lingo

Posted by QuoteColo on May 30, 2014

Mastering Data Center Lingo

Part of the appeal of hosting with a large scale data center provider is the ability to access that data center to perform maintenance on your colocation, web hosting or Cloud server solutions. This said, for anyone new to the data center colocation world, you can get lost easily in the mix of short hand lingo DC employees and providers use to describe their hardware and equipment.

But don’t worry. With this useful guide to DC lingo, you will feel right at home when you have to visit the NOC to perform routine upgrades on your baskets, catchers and PDU’s.

Baskets and Catchers

The next time you step into a data center, look up. Above the racks filled with servers and high end hosting gear are metal baskets or catchers holding all the wiring needed to run the facility. Technically called wire baskets or cable catchers, the short hand for any metal basket structure which runs the length of the data center and holds all of the wiring above the ground is baskets or catchers.

Elevation

The next time you step into a data center, look down. As you walk around the web hosting facility, you will notice three distinct visual and perceptional feelings. One, a vast majority of the floor has tiny circular holes. Two, out of those holes cold air is blowing causing you a shiver. Three, while walking around the data center floor will feel hollow and airy. All three of these perceptions are true. Technically referred to as an elevated platform or an elevated hosting floor, the short hand “elevation” refers to a data center floor raised off the ground by a few feet containing holes for cool air ventilation.

PDU

If your web hosting provider calls you into the data center to help them fix a PDU, you have major problems. A PDU, shorthand for Power Distribution Unit, is the single or multiple power units contained in your box which distributes power to all of your web hosting hardware. Unless you have a small footprint within the web hosting facility, your suite will contain multiple PDU’s to ensure all equipment has the power flow it needs to operate.

Suite, Box, Cage, Center

Regardless of how big an imprint you have within your data center web hosting facility, your servers will be located in a certain room on premise. Although there is no technical name for each individual room of web hosting gear, data center providers refer to these areas as a suite, a box, a cage or a center. All are welcomed and all are right. As such, if you are told to go to Cage #4576, you know what room your equipment is stored in.

Side Note: While in a colocation suite, the term “cage” is also short hand for a typically fenced in area on the floor holding spare Cloud hosting equipment, servers, nodes, switches etc.

NOC

Without question, you will have to visit your web hosting facility to perform routine maintenance, updates and installs. To accomplish this, you will enter your suite and head to the NOC. The NOC, technically written as NetworkOperationsCenter, typically refers to the workshop area of the data center wherein building servers, testing software and formatting drives etc. takes place. The term carries over to the employment of data center engineers in the form of a NOC Engineer.

Lastly, as you might have noticed the term for data center varies. Some web providers call it a data center while others call it a:

  • Web Hosting Facility
  • Colocation Facility
  • Cloud Infrastructure Facility
  • Web Hosting Infrastructure Facility
  • Internet Data Center (IDC)

While there are many names for a data center, the only shorthand one you really need to know is DC.

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