Different Data Center Tier Classifications

Different Data Center Tier Classifications

Understanding the differences of “Tiers” can help you choose a data center solution that is the best fit for your business size and needs. Making the right choice between data center tier classifications is an important decision to make. Not all data tiers are alike, other than a few localized differences and independent data center security levels. At Lightwave Networks, a colocation datacenter we are explaining the different data center tier classification so you can make an informed decision that works best for your business to stay connected. Lightwave Network provides dedicated servers for rent as well as remote backup and managed networking services.

What is a Tier in a Data Center? 

Tiers, also known as levels of service, are used to differentiate the requirement of each type of data center operator. The different data center tiers classifications focus on redundant components, critical load distribution paths, cooling, and other forms of identifications. 

The 4 Tiers of Data Centers: 

  • Tier 1 Data Center
  • Tier 2 Data Center
  • Tier 3 Data Center 
  • Tier 4 Data Center 

Data Center Tier Classifications Explained 

The classification levels of data centers represent certification of design and the different storage tier levels. Although we are unsure what defines the differences in tiers, the most important metrics are made available for public knowledge. The metrics used to define data center tiers are the redundant electrical path for power, uptime guarantee, cooling capacity, and concurrent maintainability. There are currently 4 different data center tiers available, let’s take a deep dive into the different tiers from levels 1 through 4.

Tier 1 Data Center

Tier  1 data centers are not required to be the most sophisticated colocation option. It only has one source of servers, network links, and other smaller components. As one of the simplest forms of data center tiers, it does not include a backup supply of data center infrastructure components and operational services. In order to be classified as a Ter 1 data center it must have:

  • No more than 28.8 hours of downtime per annum.
  • Zero redundancy
  • A 99.671% uptime per annum.

Tier 2 Data Center 

Tier 2 data centers are more powerful than the tier data centers mentioned previously. The performance hardware in a Tier II colocation data center is not complicated. It offers a customizable medium between performance and cost management. Often targeted to SMB sized businesses they are the perfect server for small businesses. A tier 2 data center has a single pathway for power and cooling with some redundant and backup components. To be a tier II data center: 

  • Must have no more than 22 hours of downtime per annum.
  • A 99.741% uptime per annum 
  • Partial cooling and multiple power redundancies

Tier 3 Data Center 

A tier 3 colocation data center is simultaneously maintainable, it allows for unplanned maintenance activity of power and cooling systems to take place without halting the operation of computer hardware. The best data center option for companies with a growing business that may be larger than the average small to medium business type. For redundancy, the tier 3 data center offers N+1, which is the amount needed for operation plus an additional backup. This data center must: 

  • Include N+1 fault tolerance. 
  • 72 hours of protection from power outages
  • No more than 1.6 hours of downtime per annum.
  • A 99.982% uptime per annum

Tier 4 Data Center 

Tier VI data center has redundant and dual-powered instances of servers, storage, network links, and power cooling equipment. As the most advanced data center option available, tier 4 data centers are considered to be “fault-tolerant.” It is an enterprise-level service with twice the site infrastructure of a tier 3 colocation data center. For those requiring a host mission-critical server, this is the perfect level data center for your needs. A Tier 4 data center must: 

  • Have zero points of failure, with no outages or errors that can shut down the system, 
  • A tier 4 data center must have 99.995% uptime per annum. 
  • A 2N+1 infrastructure, which is two times the amount required for operation and a backup. 
  • No more than 26.3 minutes of downtime per annum. 
  • A 96-hour independent power outage protection 

Choosing the Right Colocation Datacenter 

At Lightwave Networks we have Boston colocation services as well in Dallas, Philadelphia, and New Jersey. We offer the IT infrastructure you need to keep your business running smoothly and securely connected. We are dedicated to helping businesses of all sizes stay connected through a diverse range of plans, products, and services, at the best prices. Our colocation and hosting company provides the communication and technology innovation businesses need to stay ahead in today’s digital landscape. Contact us to speak with a representative with any questions about our services or inquires about data center tiers.



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