Following the technical briefing paper on data center innovation, this briefing aims to start a discussion among data center operators about the need to review current data center classification standards.
The design standards most frequently used to classify data centers are not directly promoting innovation, sustainable energy use and energy efficiency. These standards include BICSI, ANSI/TIA 942 and UI, which are used to categorize data centers by class (e.g. BICSI 0-3 and UI Tier I to IV).
Because of the fixed availability classes and prescribed redundancy measures of these existing standards, a growing number of data centers in operation or in the construction process cannot be classified.
For example, innovative data center designs based on sustainable energy sources (as opposed to diesel generators and UPSs) or networked data center topologies cannot be properly classified.
This is not because these designs cannot deliver a similar or higher availability. Instead it is because they do not fit the prescribed classes.
As a result, efficiency across all data center components is sometimes willingly sacrificed because industry standards must be followed for compliance reasons, potentially resulting in higher data center operating costs and energy usage.
This briefing argues that, alongside the existing “fixed harness” availability standards, the data center industry needs a more inclusive classification standard that will account for visionary designs that leverage resilience, sustainability, and efficiency.