Those following this blog will know that we often discuss data center criticality designations, and often the four tier classification system of the Uptime Institute. One of the issues on which we counsel our Clients is the distinction between Uptime Institute “Tier III” and TIA/942 “tier 3” (as well as the other tier levels, respectively).
While the Uptime Institute is credited with creation of the original description of data center criticality levels in Annex-G of TIA/942, there has been much unnecessary confusion between the two systems from the time of that document’s release. Besides the Uptime Institute’s interest in enforcement of proprietary intellectual property rights (of their Tier system) and their continual updates of the Tier classification system over time, in the mind of the everyday end user, they have been essentially interchangeable. Indeed confusion has ensued with this interchangeability in discussions between engineering teams, data center service providers, owner/operators, and end users.
Today the Uptime Institute issued a press release saying that the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) and the Uptime Institute have agreed to work together to clarify confusion between the two systems. According to the press release, TIA has agreed to drop the term “tier” in their revised TIA/942. Neither this announcement nor TIA’s press release on the matter say what the new wording will be, but that the term “tier” will be “removed.”
We don’t think that the TIA have much to lose in this regard, as for the purposes of TIA/942, reference to the Tier proprietary standard can serve the purpose of the document. Furthermore, the Uptime Institute has the vested commercial interest in the Tier model and has demonstrated its commitment to drive it. For data center service providers who have been falsely claiming Tier level compliance, the bar of accountability has been raised. For the end-user, this news will probably be met with a bit of a yawn, as any distinction between the two has been largely regarded as just details, when “concurrently maintainable” MEP is the primary point of the discussion in the first place.