Cloud Insight

Is Your Datacenter Really ‘Certified’? Uptime Institute Changes Its Standards

14 Jul

A company’s datacenter is one of the most critical parts of its infrastructure. To safely house complex and expansive data, companies often hire a managed service provider to provide cloud computing services.  This is a beautiful thing for the company as it gives them the freedom to focus on other things but also safety in knowing that their data is always managed. What’s less beautiful is cloud providers misleading customers about their Uptime Institute certifications.

The Uptime Institute was founded in 1993 with the commitment to unbiased advisory that focused on improving business critical infrastructure performance, efficiency, and reliability. They a
re widely recognized for their tier certifications of data centers through certain certifications; mainly through the design of the datacenter, which is based solely on blueprints before the datacenter is constructed; and another certificate that is given once the datacenter is up ad fully functional.

There are four tiers, I through IV (seen in the chart below). IV is the highest tier and is reserved for only the most secure and redundant datacenters. This certification process is arduous and therefore the least attained one.

One of the main problems plaguing Uptime is that providers are obtaining the Tier Certification of Design Documents (blueprints), but then changing their designs before or during construction. After they make the changes they never go back to obtain the Tier Certification of Constructed Facility but still market that they have all the certifications.

In effect, the Tier Certification Design Documents has little use other than to show potential datacenter customers a recognized “seal” of approval. This seal then makes potential clients feel more comfortable signing on before the datacenter is actually completed – without knowing about the changes that could be made before the end of construction.

Uptime is not letting this malpractice stand any longer and will discontinue recognizing datacenters for Design Certifications alone. They currently list datacenters on their website that have obtained the Design Certification but soon they will no longer do this. Uptime is changing the way they operate due to “increased scrutiny from industry groups, oversight mechanisms, and legal bodies in North America.” The changes were put into effect on July 1, 2015, however they stated that any certifications awarded before this would not be affected.