[a] physical facility used for the storage and processing of large volumes of data. A data centre can be used solely by users belonging to a single enterprise or shared among multiple enterprises as in cloud computing data centres. A data centre can be stationary or mobile (e.g., housed in a cargo container transported via ship, truck, or aircraft).
Office of Management and Budget
A data center is
a room that is greater than 500 square feet, that is used for processing or storing data, and that meets stringent availability requirements.
A typical data center is a large, warehouse‐like building on a concrete slab the size of a few football fields. It is located with good access to cheap electric power and to a fiber‐optic, Internet‐backbone connection, usually in a rural or isolated area. The typical center consumes 20‐40 megawatts of power (the equivalent of a city with 20,000‐40,000 residents) and today houses some tens of thousands of servers and hard‐disk drives, totaling some tens of petabytes. Worldwide, there are roughly 6,000 data centers of this scale, about half in the United States.