Data Center Tier Levels/Ratings: Everything You Want To Know

Data Center Tier Levels/Ratings: Everything You Want To Know

by Jonathan Bentz, Marketing Manager

The infrastructure team here at Netrepid has been working very diligently over the past few months to make improvements to our data center before we prepare to more than double its size in the near future. A lot of buzz building around the office about the improvements they’ve been making, and the impact it can have on the improvement of our service offerings to our customers – present and future.

One of the topics related to the changes that is consistently being discussed here is how the improvements are going to impact our data center tier rating.

Find out everything you’ve ever wanted to know about data center tier levelsĀ below.

Data Center Tiers: Definition And The Very Basics

Data centers have TIERS, I hear you say? Indeed. Data centers ratings scale from 1 to 4, with ‘Tier 4’ being the upper echelon and ‘Tier 1’ being a more simplified data center.

For what can be best considered a definition

Data center tiers (noun) – A rating system compiled by an accrediting organization that establishes maximum levels of uptime, minimum levels of downtime, and power outage protection times for data centers on a rating scale of 1-4.

data center tier levels and ratings

Often times, you can assess the quality of a data center by the size of the organization. For example, according to certifications from the Uptime Institute – a leading data center authority – there are only seven Tier 4 data centers in North America.

Fun fact: two of them are owned by Nationwide Insurance.

I guess if you have Nationwide Insurance and a disaster happens, it’s good to know they’re on your side for protecting your information as best as possible.

Now that the fun facts and company updates are out of the way, here’s some more information on data center tier levels – likely more than you’ve ever wanted to know about them.

What Is A Data Center Tier Level?

As mentioned above, data center tier ratings are ranked 1-4, with ‘4’ being the highest level of data center and ‘1’ being equitable to a server room following guidelines for computer system installs. Here are the four data center tier levels and their requirements, according to tier levels published on Wikipedia:

  • Tier 1 Data Center Requirements:
    • Single non-redundant distribution path serving the IT equipment
    • Non-redundant capacity components
    • Basic site infrastructure with expected availability of 99.671%
  • Tier 2 Data Center Requirements:
    • Meets or exceeds all Tier 1 data center requirements
    • Redundant site infrastructure capacity components with expected availability of 99.741%
  • Tier 3 Data Center Requirements*:
    • Meets or exceed all Tier 1 and Tier 2 data center 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%
  • Tier 4 Data Center Requirements:
    • Meets or exceeds all Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3 data center requirements
    • All cooling equipment is independently dual-powered, including chillers and heating, ventilating and HVAC systems
    • Fault-tolerant site infrastructure with electrical power storage and distribution facilities with expected availability of 99.995%

* — Based on our current projections, Netrepid’s data center appears to meet the standards for classification of a Tier 3 Data Center. That is unofficial, however. More information to come on that as it becomes available.