When it comes to the basic elements of data center critical infrastructure and especially the power chain, I tend toward the conservative approach. This generally follows the traditional approach of increased levels of redundancy (N, N+1, 2N, and 2[N+1]). Most enterprise and colocation data centers use this to one degree or another as the design basis of the electrical and mechanical system redundancies within the data center, or to follow or to meet an organizational based certification. However, I will not belabor contrasting any details of Uptime Institute’s Tier I to IV compared TIA 942 Level 1-4 or any other guidelines or recommended practices.
Notwithstanding the above, I am also open to new ideas and technologies (which seem to occur far more frequently in data centers lately). For example, if you have been reading my column you know I believe and promote “free cooling” and improving energy efficiency wherever possible, but not at the expense of availability (or at the very least, understanding the potential exposure of downtime).