Uptime Institute Tier III Certified Facility Foil
Recently, I asked Matthew Mescall, Uptime Institute Senior Consultant, to walk through a Tier III Facility Certification.
How do you know that your brand new data center, based on a Tier III Certified Design, is now a Tier III data center?
MM: You have it Certified!
But what does the Tier Certification of Constructed Facility (TCCF) entail?
Is it a quick walkthrough with a check list?
Is it a replacement for full commissioning and integrated systems testing?
Is it similar to commissioning?
MM: Kind of.
MM: After the factory acceptance test, site acceptance tests, and functional testing is complete, the data center should complete the integrated systems testing (IST). This will test all of the components as though the data center was operational. That means IT simulating load banks are installed in the data center to fully test the power and cooling. The systems are operated together to ensure that the data center operates as designed in all specified maintenance and failure scenarios. When this is complete, it is time for the Tier Certification of Constructed Facility (TCCF).
How does the TCCF start?
MM: When the TCCF was confirmed, we developed a demonstration list based on the Certified Design to provide representative samples of the capacity components and distribution paths that will be used to demonstrate Concurrent Maintainability. Ideally, these demonstrations are included in the IST so that the operations team is familiar with the switching and system configurations that are required for the TCCF.
And, once the team is on site?
MM: The first day on site is relatively relaxed. The morning begins with introductions of the teams involved, responsibility, and primary contacts. Then, there is a review of the TCCF process and any site-specific safety, security or general requirements. That is followed by a tour of the site. The tour allows the friendly TCCF consultants to confirm that the major capacity components shown in the design are the ones installed and that, as far as a visual inspection goes, the facility was built to the design.
After the preliminaries?
MM: After that, the real fun begins! We observe the operations team as they perform the different demonstrations. It is time to fail the utility and see that the UPS carries the critical load until the engine generators come on line and provide power to the data center, and that the cooling system maintains the critical load during the transition. Other demonstrations include removing redundant capacity components from service and showing that, for example, the data center critical load can be provided by N engine generators; or that the redundant chilled-water distribution loop can be removed from service while still cooling the data center. Some of the demonstrations take time, especially those involving the cooling systems.
How long does all this take?
MM: Data centers are different, but the TCCF usually takes three to five days, depending on a number of factors. One of the many things the data center owners will appreciate during the TCCF is that you always know how the process is going. When a demonstration is successful, you will know it. If one is not, there will be an opportunity to correct the issue and perform the demonstration again. When we leave the site, you will know the status of the Certification.
Once the data center is Certified?
MM: We do not carry 3D printers, so you will have to wait for the plaque to arrive.
Any other thoughts?
MM: A little-known fact is that a TCCF can be completed in a facility with live IT equipment! It requires more planning and stronger nerves, but it can and has been successfully completed!
Uptime Institute is the only organization worldwide that Certifies data center designs, facilities, and operations to the Tier Classification System (I-IV) and Operational Sustainability criteria. Tier Certification is an unbiased, third-party validation of the Tier level that benefits both enterprise and third-party data centers. Tier Certifications have been awarded worldwide to corporations across all industries, governments, and universities. Uptime Institute has awarded 278 Certifications in 44 countries around the world.