Uptime Institute has expanded its data center reliability certification program to include pre-fabricated modular data centers and micro-data center solutions for edge computing.
The move is the 451 Group-owned company’s response to growth in demand for edge computing, as companies’ computing infrastructure becomes more and more distributed, deployed in smaller chunks but in more locations to get closer to end users than their centralized core data centers are to reduce network latency.
The new “Tier-ready” program serves both manufacturers and end users, Lee Kirby, Uptime president, told Data Center Knowledge in an interview. A vendor can certify a solution they sell, while an end user can get assurance that the prefab or micro-data centers they’re deploying have been examined for reliability by a third party.
In an ideal situation for Uptime, once a solution is certified as tier-ready, it gets deployed in the field, and its experts are invited to examine it and certify it with one of the traditional tier levels (I through IV) for constructed facilities. The advantage of going this route to the customer is to shrink the amount of time it takes to get to the final certification.
“Typically we go onsite for a week to certify a data center,” Kirby said. For a tier-ready solution, “we can get it done in half that time.”
The time factor is especially relevant for companies deploying many edge computing nodes. Installing them using a single tier-ready-certified design means there’s no need to go through the full week-long process for every node to get the entire edge data center infrastructure certified.
Because edge computing nodes generally act as backup for each other, Kirby doesn’t foresee Uptime issuing lots of certifications above Tier II for smaller solutions, in the neighborhood of 30kW. Most of them will be Tier I-certified, he said.
One vendor, Compass Datacenters, has already had a 1.2MW modular solution achieve the Tier-ready award, he said. Schneider Electric and Huawei solutions are in the final stages of certification for a 90kW and 230kW prefab solution respectively.
Compass is a wholesale data center provider that doesn’t use the prefabricated-modular model but has a standardized design it deploys in all locations.