The physical bits and pieces in these pages are represented using simple geometric shapes and pretty pictures. In reality they are a clunky collection of ugly boxes and spaghetti cabling that needs to be kept somewhere. That somewhere is the data center.
So far the components that make up the LIC have been shown using abstract diagrams. Breaking into a run and leaving the abstract illustrations of things like the LIC LANs in the distance, we end up at the physical presence of the LIC, the data center. A data center is built to keep disasters away from data.
A data center is at its core a room with a lot of computers in it, but a data center is not only defined by the quantity of computers: that would mean a lot of nerds' bedrooms are data centers. Computers need a lot of good quality power so a data center has big electricity conditioning units. All those computers generate a lot of heat so the air conditioning system is heavy duty. A center has a lot of rack shelving for the computers to sit on.
A data center has HA (High Availability) features. The lines coming into the room, such as the power feeds and the ISP links, are duplicated so one can be destroyed by men digging up the street and one will still work. The backup generators and the air conditioners in the room are duplicated.
A data center has security features. A center is not located on a manhole leading to an underground sewer system that master criminals frequent. A lot of awfully expensive kit is in the center so doors have big locks and windows are absent. Video cameras record the action.
A data center has safety features. The breakout of an electrical fire is so worrying that scary halon fire extinguisher systems are installed. Data centers are not put in basements that are liable to flooding. They are put by electrical substations that corrupt electronics.
A data center is never as secure as a data center manager would like or as cheap as a finance manager feels comfortable with.
Data centers have existed ever since computers had big price tags.