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 California State University, Fullerton

SPOTLIGHT ON THE DATA CENTER


Racks with Servers in the data center 

  The University Data Center is a mysterious place for those who are not tech savvy.  Titan Tech Talk is here to shed light on this important, little understood part of IT.

What is a data center?   A data center is a facility used to house servers and associated components, such as telecommunications and storage systems.  The University Data Center has redundant power, data communications connections and cooling systems to provide maximum up time of equipment.  The University Data Center is staffed and operational 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year to ensure reliable operation of campus computing systems.

What is a server?  A server is a high-power computer with multiple drives, power supplies and processors with large amounts of memory that runs applications and/or services to the campus community.  Web sites, the Portal, email, data bases and learning systems are examples of applications and services run on servers.  A server is built with redundant parts which can be replaced with the server still working causing no interruption of service.                                                                     

How many servers do we have in the Data Center?  We have over 1,100 servers.  60% are virtual as opposed to physical.  400 are hosted for departments throughout campus, other CSUs and the Chancellor's Office.

What is the difference between a physical server and a virtual server?  A physical server is one or more computers that runs a single service.  A virtual server uses a single high power server that is part of a network that shares computer resources with other virtual servers.  Virtual servers use computer resources more efficiently by sharing memory and computing power with other virtual servers.

What does it mean to host a server?  A hosted server belongs to a department other than central IT, but is housed in the University Data Center.  IT maintains and monitors the hardware for the department.

Why does IT host servers?  Currently there are servers in locations across campus.  These each require monitoring, cooling, fire suppression and security.  The cost of maintaining servers in individual departments is considerably higher than in the University Data Center.  A mandate from the Chancellor's Office has directed that data centers on CSU campuses be consolidated.  IT is partnering with the colleges and divisions to identify and move servers to the University Data Center.  This will lower costs, conserve resources and increase security.