STANDARDS Classification: Data Center Tiers 1, 2, 3, 4 ( Explained)

Data center (DC) is known simply as the area containing the server or computer room. This is the place to place, operate and manage servers and related components such as communication systems or data systems ... Data Center is a central system that integrates specialized systems of hardware and chapters. software programs to provide data storage services and applications to ensure the safety of information exchange, and to store user data.

Uptime Institute, an American organization, has set the evaluation criteria for the design, construction, operation, management and service stability of Data Center. The "Tier" standard offered by this unit is universally accepted and is rated as a leading certificate for data centers.

Specifically, the evaluation of Uptime Institute is divided into four levels, from low to high, including: Tier I, Tier II, Tier III, Tier IV. In particular, Tier I has a continuous uptime of 99.67% and has no integrated redundancy, can be interrupted (downtime) 28.8 hours per year, usually applied to small businesses, personal pages. Tier II has an uptime of 99,749%, a downtime of 22 hours per year and has a backup of power and cooling systems.

Tier III is the highest level Data Center in the world popular can achieve, which requires up to 99.982% uptime, downtime of no more than 1.6 hours per year, N + 1 backup operations. Specifically, Tier III data centers must have diesel generators with a fuel that can run for at least 12 hours, a backup with two oil tanks, and each fuel tank can run for 12 hours. In addition, it must have an automatic transfer system (ATS) to automatically switch to standby if the main source fails.

The highest is Tier IV, but in the world not popular no Data Center has received a certificate from the Uptime Institute and no data center has received it. In fact, Tier IV is equivalent to the Data Center used by the US Government. It has uptime 99,995% and maximum downtime of 0.8 hours per year. Of course, Tier IV data center construction and operation costs are much more expensive than Tier III.

To ensure the performance, security and safety of the server, the DC must meet certain standards. Among them, Tier 3 international standards are the most common standard used to assess the quality of DC. Currently, there are 4 Tier standards for data centers:

Tier 1 standards
IT equipment is provided by a single path without redundancy.
Capacity of components without redundancy.
Uptime: 99,671%.

Tier 2 standards
IT equipment equivalent or higher than level 1.
Infrastructure and components are redundant.
Uptime: 99,741%.

Tier 3 standard
This level meets or exceeds levels 1 and 2.
IT equipment is provided by many independent lines.
All equipment must be supplied by dual power and the topology must conform to the architecture of the Exchange.
Uptime: 99,982%.

Tier 4 standard
This level meets or exceeds levels 1, 2 and 3.
All cooling systems must be independent of dual power mode.
Uptime: 99,995%.

What Tier Standard are Colocation America’s Data Centers?

Unfortunately, the Uptime Institute has chosen not to fully publish the evaluation criteria for these different data center levels. Few data centers have tier certifications from the Uptime Institute. Only 38 facilities or design documents for facilities have official tier certifications at this point; these are primarily enterprise data centers. The result is that the Uptime Institute’s definitions have been misused by the industry, ignorantly in many cases.

Facility builders, designers and owners have tried to tweak the terminology slightly to give it their own unique flavor. Enterprises should question any Tier IV claims by data center providers because it is difficult to get customers to pay the rates necessary to monetize the level 4 data center investment of roughly double that of a Tier III facility. Tier I Research has established a bi-level data center tiers quality rating system, with the following criteria. Data center tier standards objectify the design features of a particular facility based upon infrastructure design, capacities, functionalities and operational sustainability.


The Network Operations Centers (NOC) must have the following capabilities:
Monitor and control the network, electricity, air conditioning, fire protection and security systems of DC.
The Multi Router Traffic Grapher (MRTG) Network Monitor Solution is a robust network monitoring solution that ensures network availability. At the same time, measure traffic and usage; detect change of connection state, give warnings when reaching predetermined threshold; support for network monitoring, detect incidents in time, contribute to minimize down-time.
Use the surveillance camera system connected to the DVR to monitor images inside and outside the DC.
Network Management System (NMS) has the ability to consistently monitor the operating status of network devices, servers, status parameters of each transmission line, etc.
Support customer monitoring, remote server access without going to DC.
Monitoring environmental parameters regularly and continuously (temperature, humidity on each position on the diagram of the engine room), helping technicians adjust the air conditioning system accordingly.

Backup generators operating 1 + 1. The machine has a separate oil tank to ensure uninterrupted operation.
DC Tier 3 requires at least N + 1 equipment such as substations, UPS, generators, backbone cables.
Maintenance can be carried out at any time without causing service interruption.

Air conditioning system:
Accurate humidity control (+/- 5%).
Accurate temperature control (+/- 1oC).
Network connection and current BMS system.
Monitor air filter and control fan speed.
Continuous operation, stable 24h / 7
Low noise level due to absorption instead of feedback.

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