The Journey of Data Centres and ENIAC

In 1945 the world’s first data centre was created at the University of Pennsylvania to house the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer (ENIAC). It was the first programmable, general-purpose and electronic digital computer ever created. The machine was 150 feet wide and required 150kW of power proving just 0.05 MIPS of computing power. Computer firm Unisys can trace its lineage back to Univac, which was the commercial machine built by ENIAC inventors J Presper Eckert and John Mauchly.

Early data centres were incredibly complex. With their primary intention geared towards intelligence and military functions, secrecy was key. Most data centres only had one secure door and no windows with huge vents and fans needed for cooling, and hundreds of feet of wiring and vacuum tubes to connect all of the components.

In the 1960s and ’70s, computational technology skyrocketed. In the early 1960s, International Business Machines (IBM) released its first transistorized computer called TRADIC. This new model helped data centres branch out from the military. Rapid innovation and developments through the 1960s and 1970s, coupled with a massive proliferation of technology and computer companies such as IBM, Intel Xerox and Sun Microsystems heralded the arrival of personal computing in the 1980s.

Through the 1980s and early 1990s, users began to interface with servers located in data centres around the world using the Internet, laying the groundwork for the modern data centre. Once the website era began a huge reshuffling began and marked the boom of data centres worldwide. Data Centres became essential for national security and the overall infrastructure of the internet.

Companies needed reliable and fast internet, however, such expensive services were not available for most companies, so multinational corporations including Amazon and Google began to develop Data Centres to provide companies with Data Centre solutions in the 2000s and 2010s.

Today, our Data Centres are essential to provide the operation of the internet as billions of people use it daily. There have been many changes to our Data Centres and new technologies allow them to develop further. We can’t imagine a world without the help of Data Centres and companies are constantly developing new, environmentally friendly techniques to tackle the demand for more Data Centres, as our population and demand continue to grow.


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