Understanding Tier Designations

By Lori McConvilleUncategorized

Besides understanding the need for a third-party company to manage your off-site data center, it’s also important to understand ­­­­­­­­­the defining standard established in the early 1990s regarding uptime, and the system that can identify the best.

Measured in tiers, a data center can be designated between Tier I, which covers a basic site infrastructure, up to a Tier IV standard, which the best companies like Enseva strive for. The tiered system, developed by the Uptime Institute to determine a facility’s availability, offers companies a way to measure return on investment (ROI) and performance.

While the majority of data centers will fall between a Tier II and Tier III rating, reaching a Tier IV designation requires specialized infrastructure that can achieve high levels of uptime.

Tier designations include the following:

  • Tier I – No redundancy of components. This tier is primarily used by very small businesses because it is the simplest of the standards.
  • Tier II – This second standard has all the components of Tier I, along with some basic redundancy.
  • Tier III – This standard includes the capabilities of Tier I and Tier II, along with dual-powered equipment and multiple uplinks.
  • Tier IV – Is designed to host mission-critical servers and computer systems, with fully redundant systems. This standard has all the capabilities of Tier I, Tier II and Tier III centers, including multiple active power and cooling systems, redundant components, resulting in 99.995% availability. A Tier IV data center is considered the most reliable of all the set standards. A Tier IV rating means fewer failures.


At Enseva, owner and CEO Chris Sevey surpassed a Tier IV designation in Iowa by creating proprietary patent-pending electrical and cooling designs that not only provide superior uptime capabilities when compared to even a Tier IV facility, but actually was able to leverage these technologies and methodologies to bring down costs within the datacenter.  Leveraging a suite of services, Enseva serves a broad range of customers from financial, health, and retail sectors to government and education.

Companies with sophisticated clientele and organizations that provide a wide-range of services such as those in government and education cannot afford to lose data or drop service. A next-generation of datacenters, such as those offered at Enseva, is important to ensure continued operations.

Learn more about Enseva’s standards, or contact us for a consultation at www.enseva.com.