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What Are Data Center Tiers

What are Data Center Tiers?

The data center refers to a facility which can be used to store your computers and associated hardware; this includes redundant power supplies, redundant network connections, air conditioning and cooling systems, fire suppression devices and enhanced security devices. The data center tiers refer to a four-tier system and give an effective means to identify different data center site-infrastructure topology.  It is a standardized method for defining the uptime of data centers.

The data center tiers are useful when it comes to measuring the performance of the data center, investment, and return on investment (ROI). The Uptime Institute came up with this four tier classification as an industry approach to understanding functionality of different site-infrastructures and these four data center tiers are as follows:

Tier I: comprises of one path for cooling and power distribution and has no redundant components, guaranteeing 99.671% uptime.

Tier II: comprise of one path for power and cooling with redundant components, guaranteeing 99.741% uptime.

Tier III: this includes multiple active cooling and power distribution systems; only a single path is however active and it guarantees 99.982% availability

Tier IV: this includes multiple active cooling and power distribution systems with redundant components, each of which is fault resilient and guarantees 99.995% availability. This Tier IV data center is the strongest, most robust and least prone to faults and failures; this explains why they are used for hosting mission-critical servers. They have fully-redundant subsystems like cooling and power, storage and network connections. They also have compartmentalized security zones that are controlled through biometric access controls.

Level Requirements

 - 1 
Single non-redundant distribution path serving the IT equipment
Non-redundant capacity components
Basic site infrastructure with expected availability of 99.671%

 - 2 
Meets or exceeds all Tier 1 requirements
Redundant site infrastructure capacity components with expected availability of 99.741%

- 3 
Meets or exceeds all Tier 2 requirements
Multiple independent distribution paths serving the IT equipment
All IT equipment must be dual-powered and fully compatible with the topology of a site's architecture
Concurrently maintainable site infrastructure with expected availability of 99.982%

 - 4 
Meets or exceeds all Tier 3 requirements
All cooling equipment is independently dual-powered, including chillers and heating, ventilating and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems
Fault-tolerant site infrastructure with electrical power storage and distribution facilities with expected availability of 99.995%

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