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.

FeaturesTier ITier IITier IIITier IV
Number of delivery pathsOnly 1Only 11 Active, 1 Passive2 Active
Redundant componentsNN+1N+12(N+1) or S+S
Support space to raised floor ratio20%30%80-90%100%
Initial watts/ft220-3040-5040-6050-80
Ultimate watts/ft220-3040-50100-150150+
Raised floor height12″18″30-36″30-36″
Floor loading pounds/ft285100150150+
Utility voltage208, 480208, 48012-15kV12-15kV
Months to implement33 to 615 to 2015 to 20
Year first deployed1965197019851995
Construction $/ft2 raised floor$450$600$900$1,100+
Annual IT downtime due to site28.8 hrs22 hrs1.6 hrs0.4 hrs
Site availability99.671%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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