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A Refresher on Data Center Tiers

By Mary Beth Hamilton,
Thursday, July 7th, 2016

At Eze Castle Integration we often reference data center tiers (i.e. Tier II and Tier III) in our written materials and assume readers will automatically understand the value of these distinctions. In some cases this might be a safe assumption, but you know what they say about assuming so we’ll do a refresher in this blog post.

Data center tiers – Tier I to IV – represent a standardized method to define the uptime of a data center. The tiers are useful in measuring:

  • Data center performance

  • Investment

  • Return on investment (ROI)

The four tiers, as classified by The Uptime Institute, include the following:

  • Tier 1: composed of a single path for power and cooling distribution, without redundant components, providing 99.671% availability. This is the simplest and typically used by small businesses.

  • Tier II: composed of a single path for power and cooling distribution, with redundant components, providing 99.741% availability.

  • Tier III: composed of multiple active power and cooling distribution paths, but only one path active, has redundant components, and is concurrently maintainable, providing 99.982% availability.

  • Tier IV: composed of multiple active power and cooling distribution paths, has redundant components, and is fault tolerant, providing 99.995% availability.

As you can see, Tier IV is considered the most robust and least prone to failures. It is designed to host mission critical servers and computer systems. The cost of colocating in a data center increases as the tier increases. Tier II and Tier III facilities generally meet the uptime requirements of most hedge funds and investment management firms.

Here is a graphical representation of the tiers:

data center tiers

Data center tiers are becoming increasingly important as hedge fund and investment firms look to cloud computing infrastructures to increase agility, reduce operating costs, and simplify IT infrastructure and application management. Our Eze Private Cloud infrastructure is built across multiple Tier II and Tier III data centers to deliver the availability and performance investment firms require.

As a hedge fund evaluates its data center options for colocation or explores why cloud computing may be right for the hedge fund it is essential to understand the differences between each tiers.  We hope this article was helpful in defining the distinctions.

Guide to Cloud Computing for Investment Firms

Sources: The Uptime Institute and NnixCraft
Image Credits: Greybar

*Editor's Note: This article has been updated and was originally published in August 2010.

Categorized under: Cloud Computing 

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