Which tier rating is right for my business?
How do tier certification ratings relate to the real world? There are no hard and fast rules. However, the following indications may help.
Moving from one tier to another means more investment by data center operators. In turn, data center and colocation prices go up for customers. For example, a Tier IV data center may cost twice as much to build as a Tier III data center. Many customers opt for Tier III as a good mix of availability and affordability.
How many nines do you need?
Each of the four data center tiers corresponds to a certain minimum uptime. Or in other words, a certain maximum downtime.
- Tier I (basic) is 99.671% uptime. This is “two nines” or better. Annual downtime is then 28.8 hours.
- Tier II (redundant components) is 99.741% uptime. Again, this is “two nines” or better. Annual downtime is 22.0 hours.
- Tier III (concurrently maintainable) is 99.982% uptime. This is “three nines” or better. Annual downtime is 1.6 hours.
- Tier IV (fault tolerant) is 99.995% uptime. This is “four nines” or better. Annual downtime is 0.4 hours.
To see how many “nines” you need, start by estimating the cost of downtime to your business. Cost may be financial, as in loss of revenue. However, downtime can also cost you in terms of your reputation. For some organizations, there may be fines for non-compliance. Overall, higher costs of downtime will mean more “nines”.
More uses for data center tier ratings
An operator can use tier standards to drive design of its data center. It is better to include availability while building a facility. Trying to bolt on availability after is harder and riskier. Whichever approach is used, an assessment by a recognized entity is still needed for a rating.
Businesses using data center services can show the rating to their own market. Your clients and partners may even insist on such proof. They want to know that they are not at risk because of a problem with your uptime. Likewise, your stakeholders want to see that you are protecting their investments.
Dealing with collateral impacts
Data center availability costs more than money. It also has an ecological impact. Businesses are under pressure to make their carbon footprint smaller. Stakeholders and governments want to see results. Carbon footprints also extend to partners and suppliers. Businesses cannot pass the buck to their providers. They must be sure that the raw materials and services they use are green as well.
Data centers should strive to be as efficient and as green as possible for a given data center tier certification. Users also need a green approach. Right-sizing of uptime is key. Poor availability can hurt business. On the other hand, uptime specifications that are too high are wasteful.
The Uptime Institute encourages effective and efficient operations. However, its focus is on behaviors and risks in data centers. It is not on carbon footprints. The Tier V standard from Switch is greener. It demands that data centers run on local, renewable energy.
Overall, good design decisions help make data centers and their availability green. Sustainability can rise via the following choices.
- Efficient cooling air distribution, heat removal, and water saving. This cuts down on waste.
- Smaller carbon footprint of power generators.
- High density racks for lower overall power and cooling needs.
- Better power usage effectiveness (PUE). A lower PUE is more efficient and economical.
SpaceDC builds data centers that are sustainable as well as available. Our company focuses on the low-carbon factors listed. At the same time, we achieve Uptime Institute rating certifications for our data centers internationally.