Switch unveils new standard for Tier 5 data centres

15 June 2017 | James Pearce


Data centre solutions firm Switch has launched a new proprietary Tier 5 data centre standard which it hopes will become the most comprehensive standard in the industry.

Tier 5 takes into account additional key elements such as long-term power capabilities, the number of available carriers, cooling system locations, and network security.

Overall, Switch’s new standard encompasses 30 additional elements alongside the resiliency and redundancy accounted for in other data centre ratings systems.

Switch, which has more than 260 patented and patent pending claims, was in 2014 the first carrier-neutral colocation facility to be certified Tier IV Gold by the Uptime Institute, an advisory board focussed on mission critical infrastructure.

Original authors of the Uptime Institute standards agree it is time for a new standard. “The original standards were created for enterprise data centres,” said Hank Seader, the principal author and co-creator of the Uptime Institute standards and former managing principal of the Uptime Institute.

“The data centre options available to the industry have expanded, and so to be relevant, the standards need to be expanded as well.”

Switch said it will use the Tier 5 standard as a first step in creating a new and open independent standards body, which will be called the Data Center Standards Foundation (DCSF).

“When I certified Switch’s Las Vegas 8 as Tier IV Gold in 2014, and Switch’s Las Vegas 9 as Tier IV Gold in early 2016, I realized there were no other data centres that matched Switch’s patented designs, facilities and operations,” said Ed Rafter, former Uptime Institute senior electrical engineer.

“After 20 years at Uptime certifying 80% of the Tier IV facilities in North America, I realized that Switch is the world’s first Tier 5 data centre provider.”