Internet, Networking, & Security Home Networking What Is a Data Center? Definition of a Data Center By Tim Fisher General Manager, VP, Lifewire.com Tim Fisher has 30+ years' professional technology support experience. He writes troubleshooting content and is the General Manager of Lifewire. our editorial process Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Tim Fisher Updated January 17, 2020 Home Networking The Wireless Connection Routers & Firewalls Network Hubs ISP Broadband Ethernet Installing & Upgrading Wi-Fi & Wireless Tweet Share Email A data center, sometimes spelled as datacenter (one word), is the name given to a facility that contains a large number of computer servers and related equipment. Think of a data center as a "computer room" that outgrew its walls. Lifewire / Marina Li What Are Data Centers Used For? Some online services are so large that they can't be run from a one or two servers. Instead, they need thousands or millions of connected computers to store and process all of the data required to make those services work. For example, online backup companies need one or more data centers so they can house the many-thousands of hard drives they need to store their customers' combined hundreds of petabytes or more of data they need to keep stored away from their computers. Some data centers are shared, meaning that a single physical data center might serve two, 10, or 1,000 or more companies and their computer processing needs. Other data centers are dedicated, meaning the entirety of the computational power in the building is being used solely for a single company. Large companies like Google, Facebook, and Amazon each need several, super-sized data centers around the world to accomplish the needs of their individual businesses.