Building a top-notch data centre

There is little question that the Uptime Institute’s Tier Classification System is a popular and widely recognized standard for differentiating data centres around the world. In Asia, it gives data centre operators an objective methodology to benchmark their facilities against international counterparts.

For the uninitiated, a simplistic explanation of the Tier system is the classification of data centres by Tier levels, which can range from Tier I for a facility with no redundancy, and Tier II for one with basic component redundancy. A Tier III data centre has both component and path redundancy for concurrent maintainability, while a Tier IV goes one step further with the addition of a fault tolerance design.


Certification is third-party validation

On its part, the Uptime Institute offers three progressive certifications for data centres, namely the Tier Certification of Design Documents, the Tier Certification of Constructed Facility and the Tier Certification of Operational Sustainability.

While many data centres claim a certain level of Tier compliance, many are not officially accredited. Indeed, stories abound of post-outage investigations where the root issue was traced to deviations in the physical implementation of the data centre from its initial design. This makes the Tier Certification of Constructed Facility a non-trivial validation that a completed data centre was built to specifications.

Though a limited budget is usually cited for not undergoing the rigorous certification process of obtaining a Tier Certification of Constructed Facility, it is hard to place a price tag to the assurance that customers get with an accreditation by a neutral third-party.

Telin-3 is therefore undergoing the Tier Certification of Constructed Facility as a Tier III data centre. In addition, the plan is to obtain the Tier Certification of Operational Sustainability in a year’s time to validate that its operations team is meeting and exceeding the best standards in the industry.


Understanding Tier IV

Though the assumption that the cost of constructing a Tier IV data centre will be more than a Tier III one is logical, a common misconception is that it costs twice as much – with colocation customers paying correspondingly more. The different may be smaller than imagined, however, and depends on how a data centre was designed to comply with Tier IV requirements. This is because much of the infrastructure in a Tier IV and Tier III data centre are the same, though a Tier IV data centre incorporates additional redundancy that lets it recover from a single failure.

Another long-time misconception would be the need for independent power feeds originating from two power plants. However, this was debunked by the Uptime Institute in 2009 when it stated publicly that “the number of utility feeds, substations, and grids that provide public power to the facility neither predicts nor influences Tier”.

Despite the current dearth of Tier IV data centres in the Southeast Asia region, the demand for Tier IV data centres will only increase due to growing intolerance for outages of any duration. Organizations with mission-critical applications, or where downtime is not an option should consider a Tier IV data centre.

To serve customers that may not require the fault tolerance that Tier IV offers, Telin-3 is built to a novel multi-tier design with one level designed to Tier IV standards and the remaining levels at Tier III. This ensures that customers can opt for what fits their requirements best, and not overpay for capabilities that they have no need for.


The multi-tier advantage

Finally, it is worth pointing out that Telin-3’s multi-tier design is not just about cost effectiveness, but offers a highly practical solution to organizations looking to more closely align the differing requirements of their IT applications with the correct Tier.

Instead of deploying their applications in two separate data centres of differing Tiers, businesses can opt to simplify matters and consolidate them within a single data centre with a multi-tier design. Critical apps could be placed on the Tier IV level, while standard services could be housed on the Tier III level of the data centre.

The Telin-3 data centre was launched in November. While the Tier IV floor will not be built-up from the beginning, common shared infrastructure such as the MDF and MMR are already completed. With communication pathway easily automated using software defined networking (SDN) to enable failover, it is projected to take less than six months to build up the Tier 4 suites.

For now, you can learn more about Telin-3 here.




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