Basic Datacenter Vocabulary

Netsonic’s Datacenter Vocabulary Crash Course

Netsonic is a Datacenter. That makes it extremely easy for us to use IT and Datacenter terms and jargon. We realize that not everyone who reads our blog or follows us on social media knows the terms we use. So consider this a crash course into basic datacenter vocabulary.

Basic Datacenter Vocabulary


People put servers in a datacenter.


Describes anything that sends data outwards. That could refer to hardware, software, or both.


 Refers to fiber-optic cables that are typically faster than regular ethernet cables.


Having more of a thing than you need. In a datacenter having more than you need is a good thing. That allows the datacenter to stay running.


Describes anything you receive data on, like an email or web browser.


A very smart and powerful networking appliance. A router can refer to software or hardware.

IP address:

A number that is assigned to every server, client, router, switch, firewall and more.


Can be hardware or software, that protects something behind it from varity of attack types.


A server that stands up vertical.

Business Continuity:

A extremely well-designed plan that is used incase of an IT disaster to keep the business operational.

Disaster Recovery:

A part of business continuity that’s limited to off-site backup/recovery.


Lets you know how reduntant you are. N+1 lets you know  you have one more than you need. So any number that follow the + is telling you how many extra there is.

Carrier Neutral:

A datacenter that doesn’t offer IP transit services. Instead, tenants directly arrange agreements for connectivity with other tenants.


Is when you put your servers in racks, cabinets, or cages in someone else’s datacenter.

Access Switch:

Is normally placed inside every rack and cabinet.

Aerial Fiber:

Are fibers that are in the air.


Automatic Safe Transer Switch, ASTS, switches from unstable power to a backup source.

Buried Fibers:

Are fibers that are buried underground.

Carrier Hotel:

A building that many smaller “datacenters” are in. They are normally carrier neutral, and have various managed service providers you can choose to connect through.

Dark Fiber:

A fiber-optic cables that have been installed or buried but are not in use yet.

Distribution Switch:

Connects the router to access switches.

Diverse Paths/ Diverse Routes:

The datacenter’s internet connection leaves the building in diffrent directions.

Dry Pipe: 

Fire suppression without water.

Edge Router:

Is normally the first and last piece of hardware that touches a datacenter’s network.


Generates power even if the power goes out because of a disater or emergency. Most generators run on diesel fuel.


A set of guidelines that need to be met in order to be HIPAA-compliant. HIPPA is required for medical industry clients in order to keep patient information private.

Hot/Cold Aisle:

Servers shoot hot air out of their backsides. The backside with the hot air is the hot aisle. The colder side is the cold aisle.


Is pronounced H-Vac or are also called CRAC or Computer Room Air Conditioning.  No matter what it’s called their job is to regulate temperature and moisture.


Power Distribution Unit. They are like long surge protectors with about 22 outlets.

Power Density:

Lets you know how much you can put in a room before it gets too hot, or you run out of power.


The opposite of a tower. It’s bolted to a rack or cabinet.

Remote Hands:

A hourly fee that some providers charge to do anything involving your equipment or software.

Single Point Of Failure:

Any part of the system that isn’t redundant.


A set of guidelines that are important for delivering service to certain clients. Normally compliance is determined by a 3rd party.


A less-smart networking appliance.


Also called IP transit, just means access to the internet.


Also called long-haul transport, is connecting two buildings but not to the internet.


A 1.75-inch section of a rack. 42 units per rack is normal, however there is other sized racks.


An Uninterruptible Power Supply. If there is a power outage the UPS keeps things running until the diesel generators turn on.

VESDA System:

VESDA stands for Very Early Smoke Detection Apparatus. It’s basically a nice smoke detector.