Tier 5 Sets New Standard for Excellence in the Data Center Industry

LAS VEGAS — Recognizing shortcomings in the way data centers are evaluated, Switch is introducing a new proprietary Tier 5 Data Center Standard that it expects will be the most comprehensive standard in the industry.

Tier 5 Platinum not only encompasses the resiliency and redundancy in other data center ratings systems, but also evaluates more than 30 additional key elements, such as long-term power system capabilities, the number of available carriers, zero roof penetrations, the location of cooling system lines in or above the data center, physical and network security and 100-percent use of renewable energy.

Switch’s Tier 5 Platinum standard injects critical parameters to enhance availability and reliability for the colocation industry. Switch’s industry background and experience provides a unique position to evaluate and develop data center standards. Switch has more than 260 patented and patent pending claims and pioneered 100-percent Hot Aisle Containment Rows and Exterior Wall Penetrating Multi-Mode HVAC units: two of the most important design strategies to creating a resilient and efficient data center.

In 2014, Switch became the first and only carrier-neutral colocation facility to be certified Tier IV Gold by the Uptime Institute. Then in 2016, Switch became the only colocation provider to accomplish Tier IV Gold certification – twice. For each facility, Switch obtained certification in both Design and Facility categories. Switch also obtained Gold status for Operations. Switch went through the now outdated certification audit an industry leading two times to further reinforce Switch’s technology leadership and add transparency to its product and service offerings.

Industry experts and users alike understand that major threats to data center uptime include water damage, reliance on too few telecommunication carriers, being located in a high-risk geo zone, and inadequate physical and network security. These mission critical elements are not being evaluated in other data center rating systems. Switch believes this lack of transparency and holistic relevance makes it difficult for CTOs, CIOs and data center managers to understand the deep dive differences between colocation product offerings when selecting a provider. Switch is introducing this new Tier 5 standard in an effort to reduce the lack of transparency and enhance the reliability of data center rating standards.

“The original standards were created for legacy data centers in the early 1990s,” said Samuel Castor, Switch’s EVP of Policy who helped formalize Switch’s new Tier 5 standards in partnership with Switch’s engineers and under the direction of Rob Roy. “The spectrum of data center options has greatly expanded since their creation. Customers can now choose between a broad array of options, from in-house, to carrier, to colocation, cloud or managed service offerings. The common core of each of these offerings is more than just power and cooling. The underlying infrastructure must contemplate security, connectivity, sustainability and much more. To be helpful and relevant, our industry standards must be expanded as well.” Castor continued: “A tidal wave of technological change has been cresting. When the original standards were developed by Hank Seader and Ken Brill back in our early days as the Uptime Institute, no one envisioned the world would evolve as much as it has. Switch’s Tier 5 standard focuses on improving the transparency and accountability of such an important and mission critical part of all of our daily lives, the infrastructure that supports the Internet of Absolutely Everything.”

Switch is the world’s first Tier 5 Platinum data center, telecommunications, and data security provider.

Switch plans to use the Tier 5 Platinum standard as the first step to create the new and open, Data Center Standards Foundation (DCSF). DCSF will be an independent, non-profit standards body led by leading technology companies and industry experts, including the original authors of the Uptime Institute.

The DCSF approach will be in contrast to other “for profit” entities that sell its certification services to customers, while also offering consulting services to meet those standards – creating conflict of interest and independence questions.

The DCSF’s non-profit status will remove the conflict of interest inherent in a standards body acting for-profit. It will also provide a low-cost certification program for enterprise and colocation data centers. The DCSF’s mission will be to increase truth and transparency in the data center industry by publicly posting its standards and vigorously defending against misuse of its classifications. Current standards concepts let some companies fraudulently misrepresent their data centers as a certain tier or quality, when they are not. This has become a problem that has plagued the data center industry around the world.

For more information on Tier 5 Platinum please visit www.switch.com/Tier-5.