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Building a Data Center: How to Understand Tier Classifications

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Arnie W. Evdokimo is chief executive officer of DP Air Corporation, a leading provider of data center design, build and maintenance services based in Phoenix. For more information about Building a …

Arnie W. Evdokimo is chief executive officer of DP Air Corporation, a leading provider of data center design, build and maintenance services based in Phoenix. For more information about Building a Data Center, visit http://dpair.com/design-data-center/today.


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  • 1. Building a Data Center:How to Understand Tier Classifications
  • 2. Building a Data Center• Four data center tier classifications exists, from basic Tier I to rigid Tier IV• Balance the need for availability with the cost of redundancy – higher tier level, means greater availability but at more cost• Objectively identify performance levels• Tier classification involves operation of the data center as a whole
  • 3. Building a Data CenterTier I - Basic Site Infrastructure• Has non-redundant capacity components and single, non-redundant distribution path• Things to know about building Tier I – Planned work will require all systems shut down – Planned and unplanned disruptions will affect availability of computer equipment – When preventive maintenance and repair occurs, data center infrastructure must be on complete shut down
  • 4. Building a Data CenterTier II - Redundant Site Infrastructure Capacity Components• Have redundant capacity components and single, non-redundant distribution path• Things to know about Tier II – No computer shut down required for removal of redundant capacity vs. System shut down required for removal of distribution paths – Unplanned and planned work will affect data center availability
  • 5. Building a Data CenterTier III - Concurrently Maintainable Site Infrastructure• Have redundant capacity components and multiple independent distribution path. All IT equipment must be dual-powered• Things to know about Tier III - Elements and components can be removed from service without impacting computer equipment - Sufficient and permanently installed capacity exists - Unplanned activities can disrupt computer equipment - Available alternative power sourcevv
  • 6. Building a Data CenterTier IV -- Fault Tolerant Site Infrastructure• Gauranteed highest levels of availability• Most rigid category – hosts mission critical compartmentalized systems, redundant subsystems, compartmentalized security and strict security control methods• Things to know about Tier IV – Fault tolerant data center. Power and cooling maintained after infrastructure failure
  • 7. Building a Data CenterTier IV -- Fault Tolerant Site Infrastructure• Things to know about Tier IV – Failures within will not affect computer equipment. – Sufficient capacity exists, no planned or unplanned activity can disrupt site – Engine-generator is primary power source. Available alternative power source
  • 8. Building a Data CenterAbout the AuthorArnie W. Evdokimo is chief executive officer of DP Air Corporation, a leading provider of data center design, build and maintenance services based in Phoenix. For more information about Building a Data Center, visit http://dpair.com/design-data-center/today.