The Uptime Institute is expanding its data center classification offerings to add a standard for operations, designed to complement the group's widely-used Tier system for reliability. The new program, known as Tier Standard: Operational Sustainability, will "address the rigorous operations required to maintain a data center’s availability over the long term."
Uptime's new initiative aligns with the growing industry emphasis on best practices as well as infrastructure redundancy, which has been the historic focus of the Tier system. For more than a decade, Uptime's four-level Tier System has been central to discussions of how to plan and design enterprise data centers. Recently some critics of the Tier System have argued that best practices could eliminate the need to invest in the redundant equipment and systems required to meet higher tier standards.
The Operational Sustainability Standard will be based on three elements: management and operations, building characteristics, and site location. The standard will be released on July 1, but some details will be discussed at next week's Uptime Institute Symposium 2010 in New York.
"The highest level of redundancy in a data center can be defeated by human error, building conditions or a local or regional disaster," said Julian Kudritzki, vice president, Uptime Institute. "Of top concern are human errors which account for 70 percent of the reported outages in our database."
Uptime says Tier Standard: Operational Sustainability will provide a means to rate how effectively each data center is managed and operated based on each Tier’s criteria. These Gold, Silver or Bronze ratings are designed to complement the Tiers, e.g. Tier III Gold.
“The Uptime Institute’s Tier Classification System is the worldwide language of data center performance," said Kudritzki. "Similarly, Operational Sustainability will be the language of data center facilities management. The industry voiced a desire for additional Uptime standards to evaluate the operations of the data center infrastructure and we’re responding with a new standard: Operational Sustainability.”