A hyperscale data center is like a traditional data center, except everything is done on an enormous scale – they have thus been built to meet the specific needs of large scale organizations. As the name suggests, hyperscale data centers are vast facilities, which are capable of fulfilling storage needs that are far higher than an SME.
What’s the difference between a data center and a hyperscale data center?
The term data center refers to any building that’s dedicated to the housing of IT equipment and servers, for the use of a whole range of different businesses and organizations. Data centers provide a fast and reliable service to businesses that rely on their IT infrastructure, and house data in a safe and secure way off-site.
Hyperscale data centers fulfill a similar role, but they do it in a different way. The key difference between typical data centers and hyperscale ones is of course the size of them. Hyperscale data centers are much bigger than other data centers. They therefore have capabilities that far exceed those of a typical on-prem data center.
Hyperscale data centers are more similar to colocation facilities, but specifically designed to meet the technical and operational needs of hyperscale companies like Amazon or IBM.
As they functions similar to hyper-scaled colocation facilities, one of the key benefits is the fact that they can take advantage of economies of scale. A typical hyperscale data center will contain over 5,000 servers and it’s not uncommon to see customers use an entire dedicated floor within a data center – if not an entire building. This larger dedicated space allows higher level of power per deployment (potentially up to 50 megawatts in one deployment).
Colocation vs Hyperscale
We covered a few of the similarities above, but let’s dive deeper into the relationship between these two. Colocation and hyperscale are ultimately the same type of service. As mentioned above, the basic difference is the sheer size.
Typically, hyperscale data centers are 10,000 square feet or more and anything smaller than that would be considered a standard colocation data center.
How big are hyperscale data centers?
Hyperscale facilities are generally considered those that are built or leased 20+ MW. That number will then grow by between 1-3 MW at a time.
The Inner Mongolian Information Hub is one of the largest hyperscale data centers on the planet. It spans an incredible 10.7 million square feet and provides services to China Telecom. This Hohhot hyperscale data center is in good company too, as there are several other huge data centers in the area.
Other examples of enormous hyperscale data centers include the Hohhot Data Center, which covers 7.7 million square feet. Owned by China Mobile, this vast facility is also located in Hohhot, not far from the Inner Mongolian Information Hub.
Nevada is also home to some colossal data centers. The Citadel Campus, which is owned by Switch, spans a huge 7.2 million square feet. This data center is particularly impressive as it’s entirely powered by renewable energy sources. It also has a guaranteed latency of 4.5 milliseconds (ms) to Silicon Valley.
Who are hyperscale data centers for?
There are relatively few hyperscale facilities in the US – and the reason is because they are only suitable for the largest companies. Any business deploying less that 20 MW won’t need to think about hyperscale and can rely on more typical colocation facilities.
Companies such as Google, Amazon, IBM and Microsoft, on the other hand, all use hyperscale data centers. One thing unites thes companies is that the briefest outage is business-critical. Usually, businesses using hyperscale data centers are those that sell technology management services. In other cases, these companies could be making a profit via the websites and apps being supported by the data center.
Companies that require the use of hyperscale data centers tend to need unparalleled levels of reliability and security, because without their online services, they would immediately cease trading. Hyperscale data centers deliver this, in a way that even the largest and most complex businesses can depend on.
Is hyperscale on the rise?
While the number of businesses requiring the use of a scalable data center is certainly on the rise, these dedicated large-scale facilities remain relatively few in number.
As of the start of last year, there were just over 600 hyperscale data centers in operation. Of course, it’s true that the number of hyperscale data centers in the world will continue to rise in line with the data requirements of growing companies competing on the global stage.
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