Data Center Tiers 101

Data Center Tiers 101

Data center tiers are becoming increasingly important as businesses, especially hedge funds and financial firms look to cloud computing infrastructures to increase agility, reduce operating costs, and simplify IT infrastructure and application management. A basic understanding of data center tiers is especially helpful when shopping around for a Data Center or Cloud facility to host your business’ data.

The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) in April 2005 specified TIA-942; Telecommunications Infrastructure for Data Center as the first standard to specifically address data center infrastructure. This standard encompasses all parts of data center design, including cabling, facility, network design and data center tiers, which are defined in the following way:

Tier 1 – Basic Data Center

  • 99.671% Availability
  • No redundancy
  • Single path for power and cooling distribution
  • May or may not have a raised floor, UPS or generator
  • Annual downtime of 28.8 hours
  • This is the simplest and typically used by small businesses.

Tier 2 – Redundant Components

  • 99.741% Availability
  • Redundant components
  • Single path for power and cooling distribution
  • Includes raised floors, UPS and generators
  • Annual downtime of 22 hours
  • Generally meets the uptime requirements of most hedge funds and investment management firms.

Tier 3 – Concurrently Maintainable

  • 99.982% Availability
  • Redundant components
  • Single path for power and cooling distribution
  • Includes raised floors, UPS and generators
  • Annual downtime of 1.6 hours
  • Generally meets the uptime requirements of most hedge funds and investment management firms.

Tier 4 – Fault Tolerant

  • 99.999% Availability
  • Multiple active power and cooling distribution paths
  • Includes raised floors, UPS and generator
  • Multiple active distribution path
  • Tier 4 is considered the most robust and least prone to failures. It is designed to host mission critical servers and computer systems.

Though large enterprises may continue to manage internal data centers with in-house IT staff, businesses of all sizes are able to increase service levels, lower response times and cover more users by outsourcing their outdated server farms to third-party data centers and cloud providers that are better equipped to maintain and update server equipment.

Need help finding a data center that meets your business’ needs and budget requirements? Contact ACE IT Solutions at 908-704-0400. We have relationships with a variety of data centers and can find a solution that is best for your business.