A centralized place from which enterprise information technology administrators supervise, monitor and maintain a telecommunications network.

Large enterprises with extensive networks and commercial network service providers typically have a NOC (pronounced “knock”). It is usually a room equipped with devices that provide visualizations of the network or networks being monitored — workstations at which the detailed status of the network can be seen and software for network management.



Although often assumed to be the same thing, a NOC and a data center are two different things. One of the goals of the NOC is to maintain data center availability. Its size — room and staffing level — usually depends on the data center’s size and business criticality.

Large data centers have a NOC room that functions 24/7 year-round. However, since setting up a NOC comes with considerable cost, smaller data centers typically use automated monitoring software instead. This enables them to keep an eye on their network with minimal human intervention and the costs associated with a full-time NOC staff.

A data center is a centralized location that hosts and manages the organization’s computer and server equipment, databases, VMs, and security and network controls. Essentially, it provides a place for data to be collected, stored, protected and distributed in order to support enterprise operations and maintain operational continuity.

The NOC is the network-centric control room for the data center. It enables specialized personnel to monitor the data center’s network infrastructure and quickly address any issues that may arise to prevent data loss. For larger organizations, the NOC and data center go hand in hand — one is not possible without the other.

Since the NOC’s role is to simply monitor the network, it does not interfere with it. A data center plays a more active role in the network, since its primary role is to continuously share data across the network and ensure its availability.