In case you hadn’t noticed, data centers aren’t cheap. Not only that, but they also support applications that are extremely important to your company or your customers. Based on those two undeniable facts, don’t you think you should get what you paid for? Although this should be a rhetorical question, in many instances it’s not since the industry seems to have adopted a bit of a laissez faire attitude toward formally backing up the claims it makes to its customers.

For example, did you know that there are 139 design- certified Tier III data centers in the entire world? Somehow that number seems small to me when you consider all the Tier III and Tier III+ data centers that providers are offering these days. What is even more interesting is that there are only 50 Tier III certified constructed data centers scattered across the globe. Huh? Shouldn’t the number of certified constructed facilities be the same as those that received design certification? Since the numbers don’t jibe, you have to wonder what type of data center did the other 64% of companies actually receive. Based on this type of disparity, the mantra for today’s data center customer should be: “if you say it, certify it.”

If a data center says its design is Tier III certified,then the onus is on them to deliver a facility that can be certifi ed as meeting those requirementsonce it is built. This is not the case in most instances, however. Just saying that a facility is built to “LEED Standards” isn’t suffi cient. 

If a data center says its design is Tier III certified, then the onus is on them to deliver a facility that can be certified as meeting those requirements once it is built. This is not the case in most instances, however. This bit of “certification” legerdemain also characterizes many providers’ LEED® claims as well. Just saying that a facility is built to “LEED Standards” isn’t sufficient. What LEED standard does that mean exactly, silver, gold, or platinum? If it is supposed to meet the standard, prospective customers should insist on seeing the verification. After all, you’re paying for it (and the USGBC posts it on their website). Any provider who advertises or implies LEED or Uptime Tier compliance should be asked to provide the associated certification documentation as provided by the USGBC or Uptime Institute.

At Compass, each facility we build is Tier III certified for design and construction and also LEED Gold certified. This commitment ensures that the product that is delivered to the customer meets the specifications that they agreed to in procuring their facility. In other words, they get what they paid for. As the industry becomes more customer-driven we think that this will ultimately become a basic requirement that all providers will have to meet for customer consideration.

Standards provide customers with an effective tool to assess competing alternatives. Unfortunately, without certification, a standard becomes little more than a recommendation. Only by insisting that providers offer verification for their claims will they be assured that the data center they bought is the one that they receive. If you don’t, you may receive a costly lesson in the “old bait and switch,” and you’re data center is too important an investment for that.