The Uptime Institute, an independent division of The 451 Group, is unique in that commercial data-center operators and companies wanting to rent either space or managed services from a data center both benefit from the institute's efforts. Once certified, data centers can advertise that applicable industry standards are met, and potential customers can be assured that is the case — it's not just marketing-speak.
The most familiar certifications are those dealing with data-center facilities. A tier-classification system (Tier I through Tier IV) is used to certify the design — Tier Certification in Design Documents (TCDD) — and construction — Tier Certification of Constructed Facility (TCCF) according to mechanical and facility criteria defined in Uptime Institute's Tier Standard: Topology (PDF).
Over the past 20 years, the Uptime Institute has added certifications, approvals, and services to stay current with data-center technology. As organizations became more reliant on commercial data centers, people at Uptime Institute realized ensuring that data centers were safe and ran properly was as important as guaranteeing uptime and redundancy. In 2011, the institute created guidelines for facility management and operations, and if a data-center meets the requirements it receives the Uptime Institute's Management & Operations (M&O) Stamp of Approval, a stand-alone evaluation that substantiates a data center's management and operations practices.
Just this week, the Uptime Institute announced a new evaluation: Efficient IT Stamp of Approval. "Uptime Institute Efficient IT is about better use of resources to better enable the business," said Julian Kudritzki, COO of Uptime Institute, in this press release. "Efficient IT isn't bought, it's managed. But in many siloed organizations, there is no effective structure to recognize achievement or set meaningful goals. Uptime Institute Efficient IT Stamp of Approval codifies the management processes and leadership behaviors that ensure sustained cost savings and resource agility."
In a departure from the tier-classification system, the Efficient IT Stamp of Approval is based on score, meaning there is more than one way to achieve endorsement from the Uptime Institute. Besides different paths there are two award levels: Stamp of Approval and Activated.
- Stamp of Approval (Green logo): Sites that meet the Uptime Institute's performance criteria across the key components of leadership, operations, design, and topology are given the approval rating. The Efficient IT Stamp of Approval also includes expert recommendations to drive improvement. The exact criteria have not been released, but Robert Gates from TechTarget wrote, "It benchmarks a company's achievements in terms of planning, decision making, actions, and monitoring to improve asset use and extend lifecycles across compute, storage, networks, and the entire data center, according to Uptime."
- Activated (Grey logo): Companies agreeing to the Uptime Institute's Efficient IT principles, but still have work to do can receive an Activated Stamp, after which they will go through the assessment process.
"Uptime Institute Efficient IT Awards have validity periods of one year for Activated and two years for Stamp of Approval," mentions the press release. "To ensure a site is maintaining the level of commitment and continuous improvement present at the initial review, reassessment is required per the validity period."
There are several companies already in the program. Kaiser Permanente facilities at Corona and Silver Springs have received the Efficient IT Stamp of Approval (which expires in 2017). McKesson Corporation's Drohan Data Center and the CEMEX global data center in Monterey, Mexico both have Activated stamps (which expire in 2016).
It will be interesting to see if data-center operators who already have Uptime Institute certifications will consider this a must-have as well.
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