Data Center Essentials: General Introduction

Where the cloud and the internet lives

Last updated 5/2023 English

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Learn the basics to enter into the world of data centers, the fastest growing sector in the design and construction industry.  By the end you will know the lingo and more about data centers than 90% of those in the industry. 

From Google to Microsoft, 5G to blockchain, selfies to self-driving, the internet is expected to become an even bigger part of our lives - and it's all supported by a growing legion of mammoth facilities known as data centers. Our digital footprint grows phenomenally every year and that data passes through, is stored and processed by the contents of these largest of energy intensive buildings on the planet.

This course is intended to give you a jump start into the world of data centers. We will cover the many standards, terminology, and acronyms used when talking and walking through these mission critical facilities.

In this course we cover:

  1. History, types, and sizes - what are the data centers you may see & walk into
  2. Standards & goals - what are tiers of reliability, what is important to which type of owner
  3. Components - the equipment & systems that support the data center
  4. Terms and acronyms - most common descriptions, definitions, and practices
  5. Security, safety & more - all of the other major considerations that go into data center

Who this course is for

  1. Students and anyone interested in learning more about where the internet lives
  2. Architects
  3. Engineering design professionals
  4. Energy managers
  5. Facilities operations
  6. Contractor


  1. Love the course, very informative about the essentials of data center equipment and how data center operates ~ Braulio A
  2. The course was very helpful and enlighten. Data center is a new role for me and the course helped a lot in understanding its operations ~ Oluwatobiloba B
  3. Clear, concise and easy to understand explanation. Thanks for doing this, John! Highly recommended! ~ W S Chan
  4. I have worked in establishing mid-sized data centers and this is very accurate. I have gone through all these design stages and decisions while working on the data center design ~ H Joshi
  5. Very informative. Topics presented in an simple to understand manner with clear diagrams illustration. Thank you ~ T W Chu
  6. As someone who has no experience in data center operations this is a very good introduction. The graphics and non-tech lectures are very helpful ~ R Hernandez
  7. Very friendly expression from history to current types and PUE calculation. Very easy to be understood ~ C J Zhao
  8. This course was very great. It has really given me a good foundation of knowledge about data centers ~ Reginald A
  9. The instructor gave a good overview of the type of data centers and touched on power cooling methods. I am looking forward to more in this series ~ J McNish

What you'll learn

  1. Introduction to data center types, sizes, and priorities
  2. Summarized history of technology
  3. Data Center types & sizes
  4. Differing priorities of data centers, from financial to search engines to blockchain
  5. Supporting equipment, systems, and controls


Basic understanding of buildings or IT.

Course Content

6 Sections 12 Lectures 2h 42m total length

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