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Data Centers

An Industry Defined: PoP, Rack, Remote Hands, SaaS, Uptime, Virtualization & More

In the final part of our three-part coverage where we have summarizes the top data center and cloud terms from Cloudscene's new glossary, we’ve taken the remaining industry definitions to help bring clarity to the buzzwords and acronyms that are all too common in this sector.From PoP to Rack, Remote Hands, SaaS, Uptime, Virtualization and more, you’ll find over fifty must-know terms defined on Cloudscene’s industry glossary. Check out some of the top terms below:

Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS)

A proprietary security standard for the handling of major branded credit cards, administered by the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council, and designed to reduce fraud and improve the control of personal card data.

Physical Server

A physical server is a hardware-based computing device that provides data to other computers. The term is used to differentiate from software-based virtual servers.

Point of Presence (PoP)

A PoP is an interface or demarcation point between communicating entities such as telecoms carriers or Internet service providers. In a colocation data center, the PoPs will often be situated in a Meet-Me Room.

Power Redundancy

Power redundancy involves the duplication of critical power systems so that power will always remain available in the event of failure of one component. High availability power supplies are often configured as N+1, N+2 and 2N.

Private Cloud

A private cloud resides on an organization’s intranet or hosted data center where all hardware, management, maintenance, security and updates are the responsibility of the organization.

Public Cloud

A public cloud resides in a service provider’s data center and the provider is responsible for all management and maintenance. This reduces costs and improves scalability, however security may be less robust than a private cloud solution.

Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE)

PUE is an energy efficiency metric developed by a consortium known as ‘The Green Grid’. It measures the ratio of total power consumed by a data center relative to the power used to run its IT equipment. Read about modern data centers “going green”


A metal framed chassis that holds, secures and organizes a vertical stack of network and server hardware, including routers, switches, access points, storage devices and modems. Also known as a cabinet.

Rack Unit

A standard unit of measure used to describe the height of a server mounted on a 19-inch or 23-inch rack. The height of one rack unit is 44.45mm. The common written form is expressed with a “U” eg. 1U = 1 rack unit.

Remote Hands

Remote hands is a service provided by colocation data centers that enables customers to outsource basic IT maintenance tasks to technicians employed by the data center, thereby allowing customers to focus on their own core business. Remote hands’ technicians assist with simple tasks like running cables, checking ports, observing indicators and rebooting servers.

Service Provider

Service providers offer a range of services to other businesses. Services may include networking, communications, legal advice, consulting, data storage, management, maintenance and more. Also refer to Cloud Service Provider. Find Service Providers on Cloudscene

Smart Hands

Smart hands is similar to a remote hands service but involves more complex tasks such as installing equipment, configuring firewalls, circuit testing and troubleshooting. While remote hands’ services are often offered at no additional cost, smart hands services are normally billed by the hour.

Software as a Service (SaaS)

SaaS is a cloud-based software distribution model that enables customers to access applications hosted over the Internet (typically via a web browser) and licensed on a subscription basis.

Subsea Cable

A subsea cable is a cable laid on the ocean floor between land-based stations and used to transmit telecommunication signals between the world’s continents. Modern cables are around 25 mm in diameter with an optical fiber core. Read about Google’s latest investment in an APAC subsea cable


Data centers offer space options in various sizes, from small cabinets or racks, to multi-rack cages and private suites. A suite is designed for customers seeking a larger enclosed floor space with customer-specific security controls.

Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS)

A UPS is a device that provides emergency power when the primary power source fails, allowing equipment to continue to operate for a limited time. It can also provide protection from power surges.


Uptime is a measure of the time that a piece of equipment is active and operational. It is normally expressed as a percentage – for example, five nines reliability refers to a device that is operational 99.999% of the time.


Virtualization refers to the creation of a logical or virtual version of a computing resource, such as a server, network, operating system or storage device. Virtualization makes more efficient use of IT hardware, allowing for the provision of more flexible, scalable and lower cost services. Virtual Private Server (VPS) A VPS is a virtual machine that resides on a physical machine within a data center. The VPS runs its own virtual operating system and is offered as a service to customers who may install almost any software that is compatible with the OS.

Wide Area Network (WAN)

A WAN is a computer or telecommunications network in which the interconnected computers extend over a wide geographical distance spanning regions, countries or continents.For more on defining the data center, visit Cloudscene’s glossary of top industry terms.

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