How does your datacenter rate?

Multiple standards for rating datacenters are gaining significant traction. if you plan on achieving a major rating or award, which one do you pick to design your facility to achieve?

And how did you rate it?

Many businesses looking at building new datacenters announce that they are planning on achieving certification for their new datacenter by an external authority that will evaluate their datacenter and grant a specific status or award to the facility. When the new datacenter gets such a status or award, the company will send out press releases, tell stockholders, and use it in their promotional material, if applicable. But the standard for the current crop of rating entities are consistent only across their own ratings, and there are more groups doing this than you might realize. Here's the current crop of high-end standards and awards applied to datacenters.

The Uptime Institute Tier Standard

Possibly the grand-daddy of generally accepted datacenter standards, the Tier ratings defined the capabilities of the datacenter.  In response to the demand for an evaluative standard for datacenter operations, in July 2010 the Uptime Institute announced their Tier Standard: Operational Sustainability. Focused on minimizing risk and maximizing uptime, this standard addresses such things as operations, management, site location, and building characteristics. Qualifying the levels with which existing Tier rated datacenters met these new standards results in each facility being capable of getting a Bronze, Silver, or Gold classification, with their Tier rating, which means that a fully Uptime Institute rated facility will be described as something like a Tier III Silver.

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)

This standard, run by the US Green Building Council, you might be surprised to learn, is not a datacenter standard per se, despite all the press over the last year on datacenters achieving high LEED awards. The USGBC defines the standard as "a nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high-performance green buildings."  And while a datacenter needs to work hard to achieve LEED awards, the basic metric is not designed to rate a fully optimized datacenter.

Certified Energy Efficient Datacenter Award (CEEDA)

Building on top of the European Code of Conduct on Data Centres Energy Efficiency promulgated in 2008, CEEDA offers a Bronze, Silver, or Gold award to datacenters that have been evaluated by a third-party auditor and meet their standard's in six areas: Monitoring, Utilization, IT Equipment and Services, Cooling, Power, and Building.  The highest level award requires a demonstrable PUE off below 1.5 for the previous 12- month period.