Data Center Tiers: Formulating a Strategy

Data centers serve as the foundation for the modern enterprise. Data centers power the IT systems that run complex businesses, including servers, backup systems, telecommunications equipment, and numerous other technology components. More than 8.5 million data centers exist worldwide, and the figure in the U.S. now tops 3 million.

Keeping systems up and running is paramount. However, not all IT infrastructure is created equal — and not all business needs are the same. That’s why data center tiers exist. The term refers to different types of systems, components and infrastructure that are arranged into groups, or tiers.

Each tier is designed to address specific IT and equipment requirements. Tier 1, for instance, involves basic infrastructure requirements, while Tier 4 is comprised of the most complex components. Let’s look at each of the Tiers.

Data Center Tier Standards and Requirements

Understanding how data center tiers work is crucial to designing an effective IT strategy.  The tier classification system was created by the Uptime Institute in the mid 1990s. Since then, the framework has evolved from a shared industry terminology to a global standard that includes third-party validation of data center critical infrastructure.

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