The Evolution of Data Centers

Everything changes. The business climate around you, business models, target markets, IT. The list is endless. So it would be natural to assume data centers also evolve along with business needs. But what has not changed is the perception that today’s data centers are huge rooms full of computers, built with enormous capital investment once every 10 or 15 years.

While today’s data centers are all that, it has become more than a location to host a client’s computers. Let us take a trip down memory lane to see how exactly data centers have evolved:

Pre- 1990s:

Large rooms of computers, where computer bugs actually indicated “live” bugs inside these large computers.


With the dawn of the internet and client-server computing, data centers seemed to become more reputed and critical for a growing business. Huge data center companies came into the spotlight, focusing on data center reliability in an era of skyrocketing Internet growth.


This was the period when all major improvements in technology began – Data center services, data center outsourcing demands, shared hosting, coupled with application hosting and managed services,  ISP’s, ASP’s, MSP’s, etc.

In larger cities, Data centers meant a central place for the networks to exchange critical information. Data center outsourcing businesses evolved into wholesale co-location, with some financial flexibility and security factors that helped growth. By 2005, modular, portable data center design concepts came in.


During this period, focus shifted to power efficiency, cooling technologies, and management of facilities. Every aspect in data center design, building choice etc. were integrated with the ‘efficiency’ factor. Environmental concerns and Green technologies raised their heads.

Today, the decision to go with a data center is a complex one. It is no longer a simple decision to build or lease one. You get to choose from wholesale co-location, placing in clouds (private or public), hybrid strategy options, and so on. Make sure your data center is providing you what you need.

Alex Carroll

Alex Carroll

Managing Member at Lifeline Data Centers
Alex, co-owner, is responsible for all real estate, construction and mission critical facilities: hardened buildings, power systems, cooling systems, fire suppression, and environmentals. Alex also manages relationships with the telecommunications providers and has an extensive background in IT infrastructure support, database administration and software design and development. Alex architected Lifeline’s proprietary GRCA system and is hands-on every day in the data center.