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Tier III vs Tier IV Data Center – What’s the Difference?

Tier III vs Tier IV Data Center – What’s the Difference?

Whenever you are searching for retail colocation space, you want to be sure that you are getting only the very best. You want a good US location, you want great services, and a great price, naturally. However, you will have quite a few choices that you will have to make, and you will need to understand what type of data center will be best for you. One of the questions that you will have to answer is whether you want to have a Tier III or a Tier IV data center. If you are still new to colocation, you might be wondering what the difference is between these designations for data centers.

When you start to look for data centers today, one of the first things that you will see in their advertising materials tends to be whether they are a Tier III or a Tier IV facility. Of course, most people do not know what this really means or whether it makes much of a difference or not.

How Do the Tier Certifications Work?

As the tier certifications rise in number, they become stronger and more secure. A Tier III data center tends to be a good choice for many different types of large companies. They will generally have a guaranteed uptime availability of 99.982%, and their annual downtime is about 1.6 hours. The Tier III will also be N+1 fault tolerant and able to provide at least 73 hours of power outage protection.

A Tier IV data center is the strongest of all of the options, and that means it will have the least probability of failing and not being available for you and your customers. It will have a guaranteed uptime availability of 99.995%, and it will have an annual downtime of only 0.04 hours. These are 2N+1 fully redundant infrastructures, which is the main difference between these and Tier III facilities. They have 96-hour power outage protection.

Essentially, even though the Tier IV data centers might seem like they have very few differences, the differences they do have are important. Though they seem small, the improvements are major. However, that does not mean that choosing a Tier IV option is always the right solution for a number of reasons.

What Is the Most Common and What’s Right for You?

Now that you can see the major differences between a Tier III and Tier IV data center, it is time to think about which one will be right for you. The true Tier IV data centers tend to be quite rare still, and you will find that most of the options available are Tier III. For most large companies, the Tier III data centers are perfectly fine. The Tier IV data centers are generally best for massive enterprise options.

What you do not want to do, though, is to go backward on the tier certification list if you can help it. If you have a very small company, it might be possible to use a Tier I or Tier II facility, but they are prone to far more downtime and other issues to contend with.

Whenever you are making a decision to find and choose a data center, take the time to determine the location of the data center, the Tier they claim to be, the services and prices they have available, and whether they are fully managed or not. You want to make sure they are going to be a good solution for your business, and that they will provide your equipment and data with the protection that it needs.