It is useful for any business that intends to build a TIER level data centre, or desires to improve and certify one already built, to familiarise themselves with the basic principles, process, and sequential actions to be taken for TIER certification.

Uptime Institute Professional Services (a department of the Uptime Institute consortium) is the only organisation that is licensed to certify data centre projects, built-in technologies, and work processes according to the terms of Uptime Institute TIER classification and criteria for continuous long-term operation. At the beginning of 2014, only 49 TIER 3 certified data centres have been built throughout the whole world —  eight of them in Europe. The Uptime Institute consortium has issued 392 TIER certificates of various levels to data centres in 56 countries of the world.

“It is important to keep in mind that the Uptime Institute fundamentally assesses a data centre solution according to TIER requirements, identifies anomalies, and provides recommendations for improving a solution. The actual consortium does not ensure project development and implementation of technological solutions, construction of the related critical infrastructure, or other work related to data centre construction.”

The Uptime Institute consortium is absolutely independent from any manufacturer and/or engineering associations. It helps clients develop individual solutions that are appropriate for specific needs (provides recommendations, identifies shortcomings) in order to ensure development of a data centre design and technological construction that will ensure the necessary operational continuity indicators in the long-term.

Certification is intended for verification of the functionality and capacity that is contained within the documentation for the data centre project (Design documents), for certification of installed technologies (Tier Certification of Constructed Facility) that is performed upon visiting the facility and performing the appropriate reviews, as well as for verification of the long-term ability to ensure operations (Operational Sustainability Certification). All mentioned certifications are made in a specific sequence: design certification, certification of the realised technological solution, and lastly the certification of the ability to ensure operations in the long-term (Operational Sustainability Certification).

The main goal of certification of a data centre design is to identify the project’s compliance with the specific TIER level requirements.

Tier Certification of Design Documents

In this step, the first thing is to review whether the design of a data centre as described in the documentation complies with the design tasks defined by TIER. This report will provide support and consulting assistance so that the final result – the design of a data centre – fully complies with Uptime Institute TIER classification. The designer of the data centre will further receive instructions on how to achieve the design’s compliance with TIER criteria. These instructions help to develop a data centre design that will ensure stable and continuous operation in the long-term.

The mentioned service includes:

  • review of the detailed documentation for a data centre;
  • a report with instructions regarding shortcomings that must be fixed in the design so that it would comply with TIER requirements and suggestions for improving operational continuity;
  • a teleconference with the project team (including the project manager and the engineer involved in mark-ups) that is responsible for the certification issues of the specific project, in order to competently explain the shortcomings and necessary improvements mentioned in the report;
  • a letter with the insignia of the Uptime Institute confirming certification once the design is found to be compliant with the specific TIER level requirements.

Important information! All project certificates issued after January 1, 2014 will be effective for two years following their date of issue. This stipulation does not apply to certificates that have been issued prior to the mentioned date.

Tier Certification of Constructed Facility

Inspection of the constructed solution’s (technology’s) compliance with TIER requirements and in the case of a positive result — certification.

In this case, the basis for certification is an inspection of whether the constructed technology ensures compliance with the requirements that are set for the accessibility of the specific TIER level data centre. It is possible that certain deviations from the initial design can happen during construction of the technology. Therefore, Uptime Institute consultants make a personal visit to ascertain whether the construction of the whole project has happened in accordance with the developed design.

The intentions of this certification phase:

  • a personal visit to the facility to assess the constructed technologies;
  • comparing identified inconsistencies with the developed design;
  • approval of executive documentation;
  • execution of inspection programme in the facility;
  • providing confirmation of TIER compliance — confirmation letter, insignia, and Uptime Institute plaque.

This certification is a necessary step prior to certifying the facility for TIER operational sustainability requirements.

The basis for certifying operational sustainability is an inspection that ascertains whether the constructed facility is being operated in accordance with TIER defined goals for facility accessibility.

Operational Sustainability Certification

The basis for this certification is an inspection of whether the data centre management and operation comply with TIER goals.

A consultant team arrives at the facility to inspect each component of management and operations, as well as the building’s critical elements. All risk factors and actions for risk management are identified and analysed according to the terms of the potential impact on TIER standard Operational Sustainability (stable and continuous long-term operation, taking into account the possibility of influencing risks).

Intended actions:

  • identification of potential risks in order to assess the actions and risks of providing appropriate operational sustainability;
  • building risk assessment;
  • assessment of shortcomings and provision of recommendations for improvements;
  • providing confirmation of TIER compliance — confirmation letter, insignia, and Uptime Institute plaque;
  • inspection of operational procedures and assessment of their compliance.

Important information!  All Tier Certification of Operational Sustainability awards certificates issued after January 1, 2014 will be effective for the next six years — three years as a Gold Award, two years as a Silver Award, and one year as a Bronze Award. This stipulation does not apply to certificates that have been issued prior to the mentioned date.