About Data Centre Tiers

Every hosting provider will advertise their state-of-the-art data centre, but how can you really tell what features are being offered?

To help shed some light on this, a four tier system was pioneered by The Uptime Institute to grade data centre infrastructure design and availability, this system serves as the industry standard today. The four tiers, as classified by The Uptime Institute are as follows:

  • Tier 1: composed of a single path for power and cooling distribution, without redundant components, providing 99.671% availability.
  • Tier II: composed of a single path for power and cooling distribution, with redundant components, providing 99.741% availability
  • Tier III: composed of multiple active power and cooling distribution paths, but only one path active, has redundant components, and is concurrently maintainable, providing 99.982% availability
  • Tier IV: composed of multiple active power and cooling distribution paths, has redundant components, and is fault tolerant, providing 99.995% availability.

Hyve operates Tier III data centres

Tier I sites will have computer power distribution and cooling but may not have raised floors, UPS’s, or engine generators. The critical load on these systems is up to 100 percent of N. Even with a UPS or generator, they likely are single-module systems and have many single points of failure. The infrastructure should be completely shut down on an annual basis to perform preventive maintenance and repair work. Urgent situations may require more frequent shutdowns.

Tier IV data centres have all the bells and whistles; everything needed to keep them running without ever shutting down for maintenance, no matter what happens.

Features Tier I Tier II Tier III Tier IV
Number of delivery paths Only 1 Only 1 1 Active, 1 Passive 2 Active
Redundant components N N+1 N+1 2(N+1) or S+S
Support space to raised floor ratio 20% 30% 80-90% 100%
Initial watts/ft2 20-30 40-50 40-60 50-80
Ultimate watts/ft2 20-30 40-50 100-150 150+
Raised floor height 12″ 18″ 30-36″ 30-36″
Floor loading pounds/ft2 85 100 150 150+
Utility voltage 208, 480 208, 480 12-15kV 12-15kV
Months to implement 3 3 to 6 15 to 20 15 to 20
Year first deployed 1965 1970 1985 1995
Construction $/ft2 raised floor $450 $600 $900 $1,100+
Annual IT downtime due to site 28.8 hrs 22 hrs 1.6 hrs 0.4 hrs
Site availability 99.671% 99.749% 99.982% 99.995%

*Excludes land and abnormal civil costs. Assumes minimum of 15,000ft2 of raised floor, architecturally plain one storey building fitted out for the intitial capacity, but with the backbone designed to reach the ultimate capacity with the installation of additional components.

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