Uptime Institute Plans Green Update

Peter Judge has been involved with tech B2B publishing in the UK for many years, working at Ziff-Davis, ZDNet, IDG and Reed. His main interests are networking security, mobility and cloud

The analysts responsible for a data centre reliability rating scheme are planning to add efficiency to the mix

The Uptime Institute, which certifies how disaster-proof and secure a data centre is, is planning to extend the scheme to also measure green credentials.

The Uptime Insitute‘s Tier system of ranking extends up to level IV – recently awarded to Computacenter’s new building in Romford, Essex – but can drive data centre owners away from moves which are green and efficient. For instance, Tier-IV centres have redundant infrastructure equipment, which is wasteful in power terms.

The Tiers have also been criticised for being US-centric, for instance by Dan Lowe, managing director of hoster UKSolutions. Uptime disagrees, pointing to a map of certified centres round the world. 

To address users who want to make greener data centres, Uptime is planning an extension of its scheme to include “operational efficiency”, with sub-classifications for each of the four tiers. The emphasis will remain on reliability, however.

“Sustainability and energy efficiency is fashionable, but reliability remains key to the data centre industry,” said Uptime vice president Julian Kudritzki. “There are innovative and clever ways to get energy efficient solutions, but we have yet to see high availability clients make energy efficiency a priority.”

The new Uptime scheme, due to be published in May, is expected to make new classes, for instance Class III data centres could be Class IIIa, IIIb or IIIc, with the c-class data centres being “world class” in efficiency, as well as reliable, Kudritzki told eWEEK Europe.

Tiers I to III can all be made very efficient, but Tier IV centres will always lose in efficiency terms, Kruditzki said, since they will have redundant infrastructure using power. In Tier I to III, it is sufficient to have N+1 servers, so there is always one extra, not an entire duplication.

Efficiency gains are more often made within the IT in a data centre, rather than in the physical plant itself, said Kruditzki – “that’s the lion’s share of opportunity for energy efficiency.”

Reliability, however, is more often dependent on human factors, he said: “Poor management will defeat any site including a Tier IV.”

The move to include efficiency follows the needs of data centre builders, according to Philip Vandenberg of energy efficiency specialist Dimension 85. Over time, he expects Tier I to III centres to achieve PUEs of 1.2, while Tier IV will never get much past a PUE of 1.8.