August 22, 2023
Image of wires in a server

Dedicated data centers come in all shapes and sizes, depending on your needs as a business. Some companies build their IT infrastructure while others rent or lease. But have you ever wondered what’s truly in a dedicated data center?

Depending on its type and tier, its features and functionality may differ.

Here, you’ll learn about data centers, their features and facilities, and how they work. We’ll also explore the Southfield data center in Michigan, along with its benefits for your business.

Keep reading to find:

Dedicated data center basics

A dedicated data center hosts all the computer servers and components that store, manage, process, and distribute the huge amounts of data for businesses. You’ll find multiple networked computers, cooling systems, infrastructure, and storage in a standard dedicated data center.

Data centers have been part of business infrastructure for decades, especially for organizations with workloads that rely on massive computational capacity, data processing, storage, and distribution.

Since data centers take expansive resources and capital to build, many companies are moving to other models, including third-party data center providers. You no longer have to build your own data center — you can lease it.

Benefits of data centers

Benefits of data centers.

Here are some benefits dedicated data centers offer:

Complete data security

Dedicated data centers often have exceptional security systems that protect the hardware and software from intrusion. All your critical business information and data are kept safe from online and on-site attacks.

Enhanced storage capacity

If your business handles large amounts of data, dedicated data centers solve your storage problems. If you need more storage, your data center service provider will quickly scale without compromising security or other services.

Outstanding reliability

Dedicated data centers are resilient and reliable in case any risk to your business occurs. They often have power backup systems and redundant generators that keep data secure during an outage.

They also offer complete server protection and disaster recovery from the elements, temperature spikes, dust, and water.

Data center tiers

Data center tiers.

Uptime Institute created four tier certifications for data centers. The tiers are based on physical and data security, redundancy, and architecture.

Here are the different types of data center tiers and their requirements:

Tier 1

A Tier 1 (or Tier I) data center is basic, with low-level IT support. They’re typically on-premises in a small business office and have a capacity limited to only its primary users.

Besides an uninterruptible power supply system for potential power spikes and failures, a Tier 1 data center has air conditioners and cooling systems, a backup power generator, and IT systems.

Tier 2

Tier 2 (or Tier II) data centers are a step higher, with more infrastructure and resources. They may have extra cooling components, better IT support and maintenance, and protection against power outages.

Unlike Tier 1, you can upgrade these data centers without a complete system shutdown. While Tier 1 and 2 data centers may experience unexpected downtime, Tier 2 data centers keep it below 22 hours per year.

Tier 3

Tier 3 (or Tier III) data centers offer enhanced benefits like high scalability, data storage redundancy, and concurrent equipment maintenance without shutdowns. They also have redundant power and cooling units, ensuring a very low annual downtime of less than 1.6 hours.

A Tier 3 data center will feature all Tier 2 components, including:

  • Generators.
  • Chillers and air conditioners.
  • Heat exhaust systems.
  • Fuel cells and energy storage.
  • Cooling pumps.

For a facility to be Tier 3, it must have an N+1 availability, where N is the data center's capacity to support a full IT load and extra components to increase redundancy. It must also sustain extended power outages for up to 72 hours to keep businesses in full operation.

Tier 4

Tier 4 (or Tier IV) data centers are the highest level. Their high-performance systems are isolated to prevent outages. They’re fully redundant, fault-tolerant, and have a downtime limit of 26 minutes or less per year.

Tier 4 data centers meet all the standards of Tier 3, along with 2N or 2N+1 redundancy.

Nexcess data centers are Tier 4 and offer 100 percent uptime. An exceptional example is our dedicated data center in Southfield, MI.

Nexcess Southfield, MI dedicated data center

Southfield data center infographic.

Nexcess operates several enterprise data centers worldwide, including one in Southfield, MI.

The Southfield data center is a state-of-the-art infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) facility offering various cloud computing services. It’s an ideal offsite data center for businesses looking for dedicated servers, cloud hosting, and managed WordPress hosting.

Nexcess developed this Tier 4 facility in 2010, converting it from a light industrial park to a modern data center facility.

Physical space

The Southfield data center has a floor space of about 16,000 square feet. Of this, 10,500 square feet is raised floor, housing the hardware and IT infrastructure.

Power supply

So, how does this data center keep the power running?

The Southfield data center has 2.75 megawatts (MW) of power available for use.

The facility also has a massive power backup generator capacity. There are six 500 kilowatt (kW) paralleled generators, with one 750kW generator as an N+1 unit. That makes a 2N+1 generator system with current usage of about 1.2 MW.

Each generator runs on diesel, with a storage tank underneath. The facility has enough backup fuel to power it for over 52 hours, with a national fueling contract in place and relationships with multiple local fuel providers.


The Southfield data center has abundant bandwidth, regardless of your IT operations use case. For redundancy and high availability, It offers copious latency-free bandwidth from six upstream network service providers, including:

  • Cogent.
  • LUMEN.
  • Comcast.
  • 123NET.
  • Detroit Internet Exchange (DET-iX).

You can get router connection speeds of up to 100Gbps channeled through four different routes.

Besides that, the Southfield facility has a fully-blended network with a 100 percent service level agreement (SLA), guaranteeing unlimited functionality, uptime, network security, redundancy, and water and flood penetration prevention.

Data center security

Nexcess keeps both the data center infrastructure and your data secure with 24/7 security personnel at the Southfield data center. Moreover, other staff members monitor system health and can act on alarms and malfunction messages.

Staff monitor and control access to the facility, and only authorized personnel can access its infrastructure. For instance:

  • Each office door requires two-point verification, and access control to the data center doors requires three.
  • The facility’s perimeter is monitored frequently.
  • The facility has video monitoring systems across the entire space as backup for physical security personnel.
  • Access records are retained, and there are also access awareness systems.
  • Biometric authentication is required.

Fire suppression and risk avoidance

The facility has top-tier fire suppression systems, including fire alarm systems and hand-held fire extinguishers.

To mitigate risk, the Southfield data center deploys a two-stage pre-activation and early fire detection system. Besides that, the data center has maintenance contracts to repair and replace damaged servers and storage systems in case of a fire.

The facility also has risk avoidance measures to ensure no single points of failure in the system. Plus, it uses industry-standard emergency procedures to ensure systems work seamlessly.

Final thoughts: Exploring the Nexcess Southfield data center

By exploring the Southfield data center, you can now see what it takes to own and run a Tier 4 data center.

Besides an exceptional power supply and backup system, the Southfield data center features top-notch bandwidth options, security, and risk avoidance systems.

Looking for high-performance hosting that uses dedicated data centers? Check out Nexcess enterprise hosting and our competitive pricing options for your business.

This blog was originally published in June 2018. It has since been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.


Nexcess, the premium hosting provider for WordPress, WooCommerce, and Magento, is optimized for your hosting needs. Nexcess provides a managed hosting infrastructure, curated tools, and a team of experts that make it easy to build, manage, and grow your business online. Serving SMBs and the designers, developers, and agencies who create for them, Nexcess has provided fully managed, high-performance cloud solutions for more than 22 years.

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