Data centres are typically classified in tiers, depending upon the different levels of service they provide. The Tier classification describes the infrastructure required to sustain data center operations effectively, and ranks the Data canters into four categories: Tier1, Tier2, Tier3 and Tier4 which by and large, symbolize everything that a data centre offers: Physical infrastructure, power infrastructure, redundancy levels, and promise uptime.
While Tier 1 and Tier 2 are usually tactical solutions that aren’t largely driven by uptime availability and life-cycle costs, Tier 3 & Tier 4 are more strategic solutions that offer more long-term viability and fulfill rigorous uptime requirements. However, not all businesses require the sophistication and the elaborate mechanisms as well as afford the costs of Tier 4 data centres, necessitating the deployment of more efficient, and cost-effective, yet equally reliable Tier 3 data centres. In fact, for most enterprises, a Tier 3 data centre backed by firm commitment from management for continuous support for maintenance, spares for critical components and training of staff to increase retention should be sufficient.
Strategic site infrastructure solutions like Tier III enable enterprises to make strategic business decisions concerning growth and technology, unconstrained by current site infrastructure topology.
Tier 1 data centre is the simplest of the 4 tiers, offers little (if any) redundancy, and doesn’t promise great uptime. Tier II offers a better infrastructure and has measures in place to ensure it is not susceptible to unplanned downtime. However, both Tier I and Tier II data centres are susceptible to disruption from both planned and unplanned activities and events, and also require a complete annual shutdown for preventive maintenance and repair work. Moreover, urgent situations may necessitate more frequent shutdowns leading to a lot of inconvenience and business loss.
On the other hand, Tier III data centre offer a more sophisticated infrastructure that allows for greater redundancy, higher uptime, and more reliability. Tier III topology is concurrently maintainable, which obviates the need for annual maintenance shutdowns allowing a more efficient maintenance program improving overall equipment performance. The redundant components of the Tier III topology also reduce the number of equipment failures that affect the IT operations environment.
Consistent application of Tier topology concepts is critical for any data centre site to adhere to the standards mandated by a particular Tier classification level. The choice of topology must be based on the IT availability requirements for seamless functioning of business processes, and the financial consequences of downtime. It is imperative that the business owners focus on the consistent application of the Tier performance standard rather than the data centre infrastructure details.Tags: