Internet data center
An Internet data center (IDC) can take many forms. Using the most basic definition, an IDC is a data center that is connected to, and accessed via, the Internet. However, this definition is perhaps a bit over-broad. It would included almost every corporate data center that is hosting an Internet-visible web server or email server. In the industry, an IDC is typically assumed to be an outsourced solution: it is a data center that is hosted by a third party on behalf of another company, and made available to the employees, customers, partners, and other authorized individuals and entities via the Internet.
In a sense, you can think of this as a data center hotel. A company establishes such a center, ensures that the facilities are appropriately hardened against disaster or attack, provides redundant connectivity into the data center using multiple carriers and ISPs, and the leases servers, physical space, and connectivity to their customers. Given the high cost associated with building and maintaining a private data center, an IDC is a very good alternative that can leverage economies of scale.
So is an IDC any different from a conventional data center hosted by a third party? It's all a matter of perspective. Many companies that host corporate data centers as an outsourced solution provide direct, private connectivity between these data centers and the private corporate network. They may offer Internet access as one of a slate of services available to the customer. An IDC, however, is focused on the Internet access component, which is typically the highway by which the customer accesses the data center.
IDC services can range from simple web hosting to full data center implementation. They are commonly offered by ISPs, common carriers, and system integrators. They are generally packaged to allow customers to choose the strategy right for them. This might mean allowing the IDC to host a website where the IDC supplies everything but the customers. The IDC can manage, monitor, and maintain it, or the customer can do it all within the IDC. An organization must consider the total cost of ownership (TCO) to determine if an IDC is the right solution.
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