13 Must-Know Data Center Management Terms

By: Crystal Bedell - Leave a comment


It goes by many names: server room, server farm, computer closet or data center. Regardless of what you call it, nearly every IT organization has a location that houses the majority of its servers and storage — and IT professionals need to manage it.

Proper management ensures the data center operates at peak efficiency and reliability. Thus, data center management encompasses both the IT systems (the servers, storage and network devices) as well as the facilities infrastructure (cooling, power distribution, backup power, etc.). Whether you choose to outsource data center management or keep it in-house, it’s important to understand the terms used to describe the various tasks and components involved. Here are 13 of them:


This is the act of copying files or databases for use in case the original becomes lost, damaged or destroyed.

Capacity Planning

Capacity planning is a strategy to estimate and provide the IT resources needed to meet the future workload demands of users over a given period of time.


This denotes the communication lines enabling two or more parties to communicate over long distances.


This data center facility allows multiple companies to rent space for their servers and storage hardware. It typically provides cooling, power, bandwidth and physical security, while the renter provides its own computing hardware. Some “colos” also offer managed services.

Converged Data Center

This is a facility wherein servers, storage, networking, virtualization, operating systems, management tools and applications have been purchased from a single vendor. A converged data center is designed to reduce the amount of skill and effort required to manage one.

Disaster Recovery

This is your plan for minimizing the impact a negative event would have on data center operations. It should also stipulate how to resume critical functions afterward. Disaster recovery helps protect the data center — and the business — against events that put operations at risk. These events include cyberattacks, terrorist attacks and natural disasters.

Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC)

An HVAC system is a component in the data center that controls the ambient environment. Most hardware devices have environmental requirements for optimal operation. The HVAC system is used to maintain the temperature, humidity, air flow and air filtering in the data center to meet these requirements.


This is the amount of time it takes for a packet of data to travel from the sender to the receiver. It is sometimes measured by roundtrip, according to COPT Data Center Solutions, meaning from point A to point B and back to point A. Latency is affected by any delay in the transmission — by distance or line degradation, for example.

Managed Services

These are outsourced services that can include designing, building, managing and operating a data center. In addition to the facility, services may also manage the equipment, processes and people. Managed services allow resource-strapped IT organizations to focus on their core business capabilities by offloading data center operations.


Monitoring is the act of observing the IT systems in the data center to identify potential issues that could impact service levels. Tools are available that enable data center administrators to proactively monitor physical and virtual servers, applications and bandwidth to identify and troubleshoot issues before they affect users.


This denotes the ability of a server, network, storage system or the entire data center to recover from a disruption — such as an equipment failure — and continue operating.

Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS)

During a power failure, a UPS provides electricity to the data center until another power supply, such as a diesel generator, can kick in. The UPS ensures that IT systems receive seamless power during an outage.


This describes specialized software that creates a virtual version of an operating system, data storage capabilities or network resources. Multiple virtual workloads can be put onto a single server, thereby consolidating multiple low-utilization servers and reducing costs.

Familiarizing yourself with these common terms builds a strong foundation not just for data center management, but for communication across multiple departments.

Topics: , , , , , , , ,

About The Author

Crystal Bedell

Freelance Writer

Crystal Bedell is a freelance technology writer specializing in security, cloud computing and mobility. As the principal of Bedell Communications, she helps technology providers and IT media companies create engaging thought leadership content. Prior to Bedell Communications, Crystal worked for TechTarget where she was the editor of SearchSecurity.com for eight years. She is based in... Read More