Uptime Institute retools data-center availability tiers

Data center end-users will make recommendations for updated tier standards.

By Source: Mark Fontecchio, SearchDataCenter.com August 26, 2009

The Uptime Institute ‘s data-center availability rating system, which consists of four tiers with increasing uptime expectations, has been the de facto standard for data center availability in the industry. Thanks to a new end-users advisory committee, changes to the Uptime Institute’s data center availability tiers could come as soon as early 2010, according to a report on SearchDataCenter.com .

In the past, some people have criticized the tier system, saying it isn’t as flexible as it should be and needs to be updated. The Uptime Institute responded in May 2009 by forming an advisory committee of 32 data center end users who are also Uptime members.

Mike Wills, a committee member, said that one of the committee’s first tasks is to examine the Tier 1 definition for the least available data center. These facilities are typically defined as "bare bones," according to Wills, but the group may want to distinguish a non-redundant data center from a server closet or a mere server rack in an office.

Hank Seader, an Uptime consultant who helped develop the initial tier rating system added that another potential change could be in the definition of the Tier 2 standard, which requires that some parts of the data center infrastructure be redundant but doesn’t get into details.

The institute also may work to make the standard more usable internationally. As an example, Wills explained that the electrical distribution in the United States is typically done at 480 V, while in Canada it’s 600 V, but building codes differ by country and the tiers should probably incorporate those differences into its system, Wills said.

Data center availability ratings can help determine how to equip your data center. Read the Consulting-Specifying Engineer feature article: Data center or telecom room?