Podcast: Tier Ratings, Availability Claims and the Data Center Tier Certification Process with Julian Kudritzki, COO of the Uptime Institute

Julian Kudritzki, Vice President of the Uptime Institute
Julian Kudritzki, Vice President of the Uptime Institute

Data center providers make a lot of claims about the tier rating of their facilities in an effort to convince potential tenants of the availability of their data center and reliability of the facility’s infrastructure. Some of these availability claims are not backed by any independent analysis. Others have gone to considerable expense to go through the arduous process of  the Uptime Institute data center tier classification system.

In this podcast, Julian Kudritzki, chief operating officer of the Uptime Institute, explains the tier certification process, the issues of “self-certification” by some providers, and the factors that led to the decision to case certifying data center design documents for service providers in the United States.

The 40-minute podcast includes a wide range of topics related to data center tiers and availability, highlights include:

3:30: Julian shares the attributes of a Tier I data center all the way up to a Tier IV data center per the Uptime Institute certification system.

8:45: We discuss whether users are accepting less resiliency at the infrastructure layer due to their increasing confidence in redundancy at the application layer. The expense of creating software that can handle geo-redundancy is discussed.

11:10: Julian sings the praises of simplicity in data center design, noting that needless complexity can lead not only to outages based on human error, but to a stressful work environment as well.

17:40: Do the Uptime Institute’s data center tier certification engagements get contentious when the evaluation of a data center doesn’t result in the desired tier level for their facility?

20:45: Technologists and data center engineers usually are quite confident in their expertise. How bruised are their egos when the certification of their data center construction hits some roadblocks?

23:15: Why did Uptime cease certification of design documents for US data center, cloud, and managed services providers? How did “marketing manipulation” and the overstated claims of data center providers influence the policy decision?

29:00: A discussion takes place as to what extent has the tier certification process been hijacked by “self-certification” of data center and cloud providers claiming tier ratings that have not been independently certified?

34:40: Should Uptime have done a better job branding their certification process to make it more difficult for data center tier ratings to be claimed without certification?

38:00: A final question about pricing on tier certification engagements is asked, and not completely answered.

39:40: Julian shares his frustration with the data center and technology media saying that when it came to Uptime’s changes in the data center tier certification process “the general industry media fact checking and source gathering, in my opinion, has been dreadful” and instead of digging into the truth of the story “the industry media latched onto one of the first misinformed hot takes.”