Incredible History of Data Centres with Present and Future Perspectives

Revolution rarely happens but when it does especially in IT, it’s often unexpected with a Tsunami like aftermath. Looking at the history, example of data centre is one of the best examples to describe mix of both evolution and uprising in computer models, courtesy of ever developing technology. Data storage centre is core of modern software technology thus playing a crucial role in expanding business capabilities.

Concept of such facilities has been around since 1950 when IBM and American Airline formed an alliance to develop a passenger reservation system, courtesy of sabre by automating one of its primary business services. The idea of auto/electronic reservation system became a reality in 1960 that paved way for a full-scale data housing facilities.

Ever since, we’re walking down a winding road with physical and technical changes in data storage and computing. Let’s have a look at history of data centres that evolved from yesterday’s mainframe to cloud/virtual centric of 21st century. We’ll also discuss their impact over IT decision making but first, familiarise yourself with their central role.

Primary Function of Data Centre

Date Centre

Where businesses rely solely on traditional pen-and-paper a few years back, invasion of cloud changed the entire picture and nature of business operation. In-fact, productivity increased along with tech revolution and data usability also improved. Organisations turned more efficient and physically spacious that further assists with information management and resource allocation. These tier 3 data centres are already set to play a more significant role in time that’ll revolutionise IT industry with newer concepts.

ENIAC of the 1960’s

Simplest definition and example of a data centre can be of ENIAC. It’s considered grandfather of modern facilities and was capable to perform full computing tasks with least features, infrastructure and storage elements. The Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer or ENIAC was especially designed for U.S Army Ballistic Research Laboratory in 1946 to house weaponry firing codes.

Before it, no other computer was capable to accumulate massive information and perform accurate calculations. Bearing approximately 7,200 crystal diodes, 10,000 capacitors and 17,468 vacuum tubes; the machine take lots of floor space like 1,800 square feet just for installation!

Coming of Disaster Recovery in 1970

Blueprints for disaster recovery began surfacing in early 1973 but actual implementation took place with SunGard. It was the first disaster recovery business in U.S that was known as Information Systems. The concept helped advanced the company that seem to manage more than 17,000 employees even if relevant services aren’t the primary focus.

The Xerox Alto of the 1973

The idea of miniaturised computers with a much smaller size as compared to their predecessors boomed with creation of Intel 4004 processor in 1971. Initially developed and used by famous Xerox Palo Alto Research Centre (PARC), it was the first desktop computer to be used as a graphical UI with custom-built TTL 16-bit CPU. Xerox Alto came with a three-button mouse and was never sold on a commercial scale. Its modified version; The Star, was sold for $17,000 in 1981 while the company built around 2,000 units.

Modular Data Centre in 2007

Often deployed in form of containers housing complete IT infrastructure, modular data centre models became a recent innovation. Sun Blackbox is among the finest example with around 280 servers in a 20 foot shipping container. Not aesthetically pleasing though, Sun claimed that it cost them just one percent of the total cost as compared to entire data storage buildings. The idea of virtualisation is a result of this.

Cloud is the Future

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) paved way for cloud computing that’s conceived as a future of data centres. The model favours a combination between facility’s operators and network infrastructure, delivering a much higher bandwidth. Large IT companies shifted their entire business platform to cloud offering nonstop services. Google is believed to operate more than 18 data centres in the US and 17 plus across the globe with almost two million servers.


There’ve incredible reforms in technology that impacted data centres using facilities as well. It’s indeed remarkable and important to understand by all who’re planning to adapt one or more of these mechanisms.

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