With few exceptions, companies today rely heavily on IT for the delivery of business-critical services often directly to the end consumer. It is therefore vital that the mission-critical Data Center is designed, maintained and operated with high-availability and efficiency in mind.
When building and operating a data center one wants to ensure that it has been designed and built based on globally accepted standards, yet have the flexibility to adapt to the business requirements.
Survey results show that in more than 78% of the cases, data center operator/owners chose the ANSI/TIA-942 standard when it comes to designing and building a data center.
The ANSI/TIA-942 is often chosen for a number of factors including;
- It is a real standard issued by a non-profit organization
- TIA is accredited by ANSI
- The standard is publically available leading to great transparency
- The standard covers all aspects of the physical data center including site location, architecture, security, safety, fire suppression, electrical, mechanical and telecommunication
The ANSI/TIA-942 standard serves as a baseline for anybody who wishes to build a reliable and efficient data center.
Types of ANSI/TIA-942 Certification
- ANSI/TIA-942 Design Certification
This status indicates that the design documents of the data center under scope have been reviewed for conformity to the design criteria of the ANSI/TIA-942 standard for the respective Rating/Tier* level.
- ANSI/TIA-942 Site Certification
This status indicates that the data center facilty under scope has been physically inspected for conformity to the design criteria of the ANSI/TIA-942 standard for respective Rating/Tier* level. This physical inspection covers both an assessment of all related design documents as well as a physical onsite inspection for each area under the scope of the ANSI/TIA-942 standard.
ANSI/TIA-942 describes four Rating/Tier* levels in which data centers can be classified. Below is the high level description of each Rating/Tier* level. Detailed specifications are given in the ANSI/TIA-942 standard.
- Rated-1/Tier-1*: Basic Site Infrastructure
A data center which has single capacity components and a single, non-redundant distribution path serving the computer equipment. It has limited protection against physical events.
- Rated-2/Tier-2*: Redundant Capacity Component Site Infrastructure
A data center which has redundant capacity components and a single, non-redundant distribution path serving the computer equipment. It has improved protection against physical events.
- Rated-3/Tier-3*: Concurrently Maintainable Site Infrastructure
A data center which has redundant capacity components and multiple independent distribution paths serving the computer equipment. Typically, only one distribution path serves the computer equipment at any time. The site is concurrently maintainable which means that each and every capacity component including elements which are part of the distribution path, can be removed/replaced/serviced on a planned basis without disrupting the ICT capabilities to the End-User. It has protection against most physical events.
- Rated-4/Tier-4*: Fault Tolerant Site Infrastructure
A data center which has redundant capacity components and multiple independent distribution paths serving the computer equipment which all are active. The data center allows concurrent maintainability and one (1) fault anywhere in the installation without causing downtime. It has protection against almost all physical events.
TIA-942 standard certification is valid for 3 years. By the end of year-1 and year-2, the data center should undergo a surveillance audit. By the end of year-3, the data center has to undergo a recertification audit in order to keep its certification valid.
* The term ‘Tier’ was used in the ANSI/TIA-942 Standard until the ANSI/TIA-942:March-2014 edition. In the March 2014 edition the term ‘Tier’ has been replaced by either ‘Rated’ or ‘Rating’.