Data center certification programs haven’t kept up with the rapidly changing technology landscape. We outline three challenges your data center might be facing due to an outdated certification program.

The incredible momentum of off-premise computing has significantly increased the potential impact of a wide-spread outage from a major data center provider. Enterprise users are acutely aware of how an outage could impact mission critical data — security was listed as a major concern for 77% of cloud users in RightScale’s “2018 State of the Cloud” report.

In order to meet the resiliency needs of users with hybrid and multi-cloud environments, data center operators often turn to third-party certifiers to help address the most common root causes of outages, which may include human error, software issues, network downtime, and hardware failures.

However, there are limited offerings for data center operators to get a holistic audit of all factors that contribute to the resiliency of their services. We’ve been hearing directly from providers that existing offerings have not kept up with the pace of change in the industry. Implementation of these programs has forced some providers to over-engineer their facilities, which casts doubts on their cost effectiveness, and ultimately distracts providers from what truly matters to enterprise users, security and reliability.

Here are some challenges your data center may be facing today due to an antiquated certification program — and key indicators that one of these programs might be trapping you into over-engineering your facility. 



The first big challenge rears its head early in the design phase of a data center. Some programs offer initial certification reviews based on specs or design plans, but exclude site surveys after construction. Typically, the design plans do not completely reflect the final constructed center, resulting in gaps in the certification, raising questions about the value of a design review without a site survey. If a provider changes their strategy, technology, or other elements of their data center to accommodate new types of customers, they might not have a certification program that scales with them. Customers who are selecting a data center are unsure how their facilities have been evaluated, and operators are forced to incur additional costs for more reviews.



After the design phase, another challenge emerges: the sustainability of critical utilities. In the past, providers were beholden to installing continuous power generation in order to comply with most data center certification programs — resulting in millions of dollars of incurred costs. This requirement actually prevented the cloud computing industry from recognizing any data center certification programs because it was interpreted as redundant. As other facility standards have evolved to recognize sustainability initiatives, data center programs have fallen behind. This leaves providers stuck between choosing corporate sustainability goals or complying with outdated energy standards.

The data center industry will continue to face massive change. Now, more than ever, it’s crucial to find a certification program that not only helps data centers employ emerging technologies at the rate they need to stay competitive, but also provides an end-to-end evaluation of every critical component from the fire safety of the facility to the servers themselves. With a better map for today’s needs, data center owners and operators can spare themselves from over-engineering their facilities.