Data Center Tier Ratings – All About Tier 1, 2, 3 and 4

Data Center Tier Ratings - Verito Technologies

Before hiring a cloud solution provider, you would want to check for the service quality in terms of various parameters, such as remote accessibility, data security, and business continuity, to name a few. During such assessments, you might have read or heard about data center tiers, like Tier 1, Tier 2, etc., that most cloud providers talk about. However, have you ever wondered what that means and how it is related to the quality of cloud hosting solutions?

Data center tiers are crucial parameters you must check before selecting a cloud service provider to host business applications and data. The tier rating indicates the reliability and performance of a data center. 

This guide will cover data center tiers in detail to help you understand how these ratings enable you to assess a data center’s quality.

What are Data Center Tiers?

Data center tiers refer to the ranking mechanism that indicates the reliability quotient of the infrastructure of a data center. This classification starts from Tier 1 to Tier 4, with 1 being the lowest grade and 4 the best-performing facility. 

Every data center receives this international ranking from Uptime Institute, an independent organization that ranks a facility based on fault tolerance, service cost, and uptime guarantee. 

Furthermore, the data center tier system is unbiased and is meant to give an understanding of the operations of a specific data center. Although having this rating is optional, most data center facilities request the evaluation to get a tier assigned officially. This helps them build service credibility over time, attract potential clients, and plan for expansions.

Which Factors are Considered for Classification of Data Center Tiers?

Although the Uptime Institute keeps the exact parameters of tier allocation confidential, here are some of the general factors used before rating a data center facility:

  • Uptime guarantees
  • Service availability
  • Redundancy levels
  • Cooling state and power infrastructure
  • Service cost
  • Maintenance protocols
  • The expertise of the hired staff
  • Operational sustainability
  • Carrier neutrality
  • Security levels

It is up to a data center facility to meet the required standards to achieve the best data center tier rating.

Data Center Tiers Explained

Four data center tiers are certified by the Uptime Institute. These include;

  • Tier 1
  • Tier 2
  • Tier 3
  • Tier 4

These tiers are progressive in nature, meaning data center ratings can move up or down on this tier scale. Moreover, each tier fits specific business needs and has a cost element. So let’s dig deeper into each of these data center tiers.

Tier 1 Data Centers

The Tier 1 data center facilities provide cooling and power infrastructure to handle the full IT load. However, they have a single path for power and cooling and do not include redundancy for critical systems. They also lack backups, and the hired staff must shut the entire facility down for emergency repair or maintenance.

As per the data center tiers classification, Tier 1 facilities require:

  • A designated space to keep the IT systems
  • Engine generator
  • Dedicated cooling equipment
  • Uninterrupted Power Supply

Besides this, tier 1 data center clients can expect a downtime of up to 28.8 hours per year and an uptime of 99.671%.

Tier 2 Data Centers

Tier 2 data center facilities comprise all the features of Tier 1 centers and the backup option. They are designed to offer better protection as they require:

  • Energy storage
  • Chillers
  • Extra engine generators
  • UPS modules
  • Pumps
  • Raised floors
  • Additional cooling units and more

Tier 2 data centers also have a single distribution path for power and cooling, which makes them susceptible to unexpected disruptions. Using a Tier 2 data center facility includes partial redundancy in cooling and power, 99.749 % uptime, and reduced downtime of 22 hours per year.

Tier 3 Data Centers

Unlike the first two data center tiers, Tier 3 data centers have multiple distribution paths for power and cooling. Therefore, they do not require an entire facility to shut down for maintenance or equipment replacement procedures. 

A Tier 3 data center has all the components of a Tier 2 data center along with N+1 availability. Here, ‘N’ indicates the necessary capacity needed to support full IT load, and ‘+1’ is for the extra component required for backups. In other words, their N+1 redundancy ensures that the additional component comes into operation in case the primary element fails or is under maintenance.

They also require a power backup solution to continue the operations even in case of power failure. Another significant benefit of Tier 3 data centers is that the downtime is reduced further to 1.6 hours in a year while the uptime is even higher (99.982%). 

Tier 4 Data Centers

In Tier 4 data center facilities, another layer of fault tolerance is added to the Tier 3 requirements. Several physically isolated systems work as distribution paths and redundant components. Other than the Tier 3 conditions, a Tier 4 data center also requires:

  • Two generators, two cooling systems, and two UPS for each component
  • Independent distribution path so that one component failure does not affect the other
  • Continued operation for a minimum of 96 hours in case of a local power outage

These data centers also provide 2N+1 redundancy and ensure maximum downtime of 26.3 minutes annually. Therefore, in terms of percentage, the uptime is 99.995% per year. 

Benefit from Verito’s Cloud Solutions Backed by Tier 3 and Tier 4 Data Centers

If you are looking for the best quality cloud solutions to host your business applications and data, join hands with Verito Technologies – a trusted cloud provider having client’s data stored in Tier 3 and Tier 4 data centers. You can also benefit from our SLA-backed server uptime guarantee. For more information, call us at 1-855-583-7486. 

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