Tier Certification: What it is and What it is for

In these times, certifications are an ally to demonstrate the high standards that are applied in different organizations. On this occasion, we will talk about data centers and a certification that is considered a leader in this field: Tier certifications . Design, construction, operations and other aspects that characterize data centers can be certified with true impartiality, neutrality and a high focus on their performance.

At the data center infrastructure and service provider level, this certification helps demonstrate the capacity of such infrastructure, which contributes to the high and effective performance that one proposes to clients. Thus, it is certain that the data center will be able to deliver the promised services. For clients and potential clients, it is a seal of trust. Likewise, it will help clients to make the best decision and decide on a supplier that has high-level support. The impartiality at the level of criteria and the neutrality based on the applied technologies, distinguishes this certification from the others.


Key values of the Tier standard

  • Performance-based: Since this is the basis for issuing certifications, Tier gives you the freedom to implement the infrastructure and systems solutions that best suit the goals of the provider company. Thus, a high level of quality in IT operations, optimized costs, sustainability and uptime can be guaranteed.
  • Neutrality: standards have the ability to support all kinds of technological solutions, regardless of the progress that may be made in this area. This means that there are no preferences regarding a particular set of technologies, or any specific organization in the field. The supplier company can choose what is best for them.
  • Independent of vendors: Emphasizing the above, there is no affinity on the part of the Uptime Institute for any manufacturer, hardware or brand. Consequently, Tier certification has neutral criteria when it comes to suppliers and is absolutely impartial.
  • Flexibility: This certification gives organizations complete freedom to comply with local requirements. Be it regulations, codes or regulations. Obtaining a certification of great prestige does not have to imply non-compliance with what is required locally.
  • Life cycle: Tier cetification accompanies all phases of the constitution of a data center. From design documentation to demonstration of operational sustainability.
  • Author certification: this means that the author of the standard is the one who issues the certification. This is a guarantee seal of compliance with said standard, free of criteria contaminated with partiality or preferences.

This is the Tier classification system for data centers

This system has been created by the Uptime Institute with the purpose of effectively evaluating the infrastructure of a data center in terms of business requirements. These requirements are part of the criteria to define what the high availability of a system implies. This classification system provides a consistent method of evaluating and comparing data center facilities based on infrastructure performance and uptime. On the other hand, Tiers allow companies to align the investments to be made in relation to their data centers with business objectives. The latter, related to the growth of these companies and the technological strategies that must be applied.

The Data Center Site Infrastructure Tier Standard: Topology determines what are the requirements and benefits provided by all Tier. Each of them is linked to a specific role in the business and establishes appropriate criteria regarding power, cooling, maintenance and ability to withstand failure events (better known in English as Fault Tolerance ). One point to consider is that each Tier progressively incorporates the requirements and benefits of the previous Tier .

The main benefit of progressive standardization such as that offered by the Uptime Institute enables a variety of technology solutions to be implemented. Thus, being absolutely flexible, especially when it comes time to meet performance targets. In addition to the regulations of the localities of the companies.

Both Tier I and Tier II are tactical solutions, which means that they are requirement-based as first-cost and time-to-market . In other words, any organization that opts for Tier I or Tier II certification need not place much importance on real-time product and service delivery throughout much of the business cycle. However, if it is necessary to focus on rigorous availability requirements to operate online and long-term viability, one should opt for Tier III and Tier IV certifications.

Considerations when starting certification work

Perhaps the most important point in all of this is that the institution that authorizes Tier certifications is the only one that can issue it. In this way, consistency in the application of engineering concepts for data centers is ensured, at a very high level of detail and without shortcuts or substitutes that compromise the final result. Therefore, it is not possible to find partners or other institutions that are supposedly authorized by the Uptime Institute to issue Tier certificates.

The classification of all Tier certifications

  • Tier I – Basic Capacity. An infrastructure in this Tier includes a dedicated space for equipment related to IT systems and a UPS to mitigate any eventuality in terms of electrical energy. In addition to this, dedicated cooling equipment is required, which must not be disconnected from the power at any time, and a generator to protect all IT operational functions in the event of an event of power problems.
  • Tier II – Components with Redundancy Capability. All data center facilities in this Tier must include equipment and components for electrical energy and cooling. Aiming to provide maintenance opportunities and a higher margin of security against interruptions of IT processes and operations that may result in failure of infrastructure equipment. We call all this “redundancy”. These components and equipment include UPS modules, coolers and generators in general.
  • Tier III – Concurrent Maintenance. A data center in this category does not allow any event of power outage or disconnection. No interruption events of processes and operations should occur, if it is necessary to do maintenance or change equipment. A redundancy path for electricity and cooling is added to the components and criteria that are part of Tier II. That is, the data center must continue as normal even if there is a need to make some change in the infrastructure.
  • Tier IV – Fault Tolerance. This Tier certifies that data centers are the most reliable and secure when it comes to meeting availability requirements. These are built based on Tier III requirements adding the concept of Fault Tolerance. The latter is that if there were a system failure event or any other type, its effects should not affect IT operations in any way. This includes events that have to do with electrical energy.

Don’t hesitate to visit the official website of the Uptime Institute if your organization is interested in knowing how to get started. Chat in real time with the advisors of the institute is available, if you need immediate advice. Or, if you are curious and want to know in detail all the certifications offered.