The Uptime Institute today announced it has developed a new standard that defines and classifies the risk factors to a data center’s sustained uptime. The new standard, “Tier Standard: Operational Sustainability”, will be released July 1, 2010. Operational Sustainability standard works in tandem with its international Tier Classification System. The established Tier Classification System ensures a data center’s infrastructure is designed for uninterruptable uptime in line with its business requirements; Operational Sustainability will address the rigorous operations required to maintain a data center’s availability over the long term.

The Operational Sustainability Standard is based on three elements that are most influential in a data center’s ongoing performance: Management & Operations, Building Characteristics, and Site Location. These prioritized elements are based on analysis of Uptime Institute’s “abnormal incident” reporting database, which is the world’s largest. The risk factors to be detailed in “Tier Standard: Operational Sustainability” capture thousands of ‘lessons learned.’

“The highest level of redundancy in a data center can be defeated by human error, building conditions or a local or regional disaster,” said Julian Kudritzki, vice president, Uptime Institute. “Of top concern are human errors which account for 70% of the reported outages in our database.”

The Tier Classification System, as outlined in the authoritative requirements document Tier Standard: Topology, defines data centers in accordance with four Tier levels (I-IV). According to this rating system, Tier IV sites are capable of the highest level of uptime. The Operational Sustainability Program establishes a standard for risk mitigation and site management behaviors by Tier level. Tier Standard: Operational Sustainability also provides a means to rate how effectively each data center is managed and operated based on each Tier’s criteria. These ratings, Gold, Silver or Bronze, are designed to complement the Tiers, e.g. Tier III Gold.

“The Uptime Institute’s Tier Classification System is the worldwide language of data center performance. Similarly, Operational Sustainability will be the language of data center facilities management,” continued Kudritzki. “The industry voiced a desire for additional Uptime standards to evaluate the operations of the data center infrastructure and we’re responding with a new standard: Operational Sustainability.”

Similar to the Tier Classification System, Operational Sustainability is a standard for enterprise and third-party data center owners and operators. Prior to its release on July 1, the Uptime Institute will provide additional information at select worldwide industry events, the first being the May 17-19 Uptime Institute Symposium in New York.