Uptime Institute

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Uptime Institute LLC
Logo of the Uptime Institute.png
Type of business Private
Available in English
Founded 1993
Headquarters 5470 Shilshole Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107, United States
Area served North America, South America, Europe, Middle East, Asia Pacific, South Africa
Founder(s) Kenneth G. Brill[1]
Key people Martin V. McCarthy, CEO
W. Pitt Turner IV P.E., Executive Director, Julian Kudritzki COO, Lee Kirby CTO,
Services Tier Certification
Management and Operations (M&O)
Digital Infrastructure Services
Professional Training & Development
Website http://uptimeinstitute.com

Uptime Institute is an American advisory organization focused on improving the performance, efficiency, and reliability of business critical infrastructure through innovation, collaboration, and independent certifications. It is best known for its widely adopted tier certifications of data centers.


Founded in 1993 by Kenneth G. Brill, the Uptime Institute was founded as an industry proponent to help owners and operators quantify and qualify their ability to provide a predictable level of performance from data centers, regardless of the status of external factors, such as power utilities. In 2009, the Uptime Institute was acquired by The 451 Group .[2]

Since then, the Seattle-based Uptime Institute has been an independent division of The 451 Group[3] (which is headquartered in New York) with worldwide offices in locations including San Francisco, Washington DC, London, Boston, Seattle, Denver, São Paulo, Dubai, Shanghai and Singapore.

The 451 Group also owns 451 Research, a technology-industry syndicated research and data firm.


Uptime Institute serves all stakeholders responsible for IT service availability through industry leading standards, education, peer-to-peer networking, consulting, and award programs delivered to enterprise organizations and third-party operators, manufacturers, and providers. Uptime Institute is recognized globally for the creation and administration of the Tier Standards & Certifications for Data Center Design, Construction, and Operations, along with its Management & Operations (M&O) Stamp of Approval, FORCSS® methodology, and Efficient IT Stamp of Approval.

Uptime Institute – The Global Data Center Authority®, a division of The 451 Group, has office locations in the U.S., Mexico, Costa Rica, Brazil, U.K., Spain, U.A.E., Russia, Taiwan, Singapore, and Malaysia. Visit www.uptimeinstitute.com for more information. [4]

Tier certifications[edit]

The Uptime Institute's data center tier concepts have grown from a publication in the late 1990s of the Tier Classifications Define Site Infrastructure Performance white paper[5] to a standard guiding design and investment for data centers globally. The data center tier standards are a standardized methodology used to determine availability in a facility. It offers companies a way to measure return on investment (ROI) and performance. There are two forms of Tier Certifications:

  • Tier Certification of Design Documents
  • Tier Certification of Constructed Facility

The tier certification refers only to the physical topology of the data centers' infrastructure that directly affects the computer room operation.[6] The certifications are awarded in four levels:

  • Tier IV - Fault tolerant site infrastructure
  • Tier III - Concurrently maintainable site infrastructure
  • Tier II - Redundant capacity components site infrastructure (redundant)
  • Tier I - Basic site infrastructure (non-redundant)

The full Tier Standard: Topology is available on the Uptime Institute website[7]

The Uptime Institute's Tier Certification does not pertain to the Telecommunications Industry Association's standard, TIA-942.[8] Uptime Institute and TIA agree on clear separation between their respective benchmarking systems to avoid industry confusion and drive accountability.[9]

Another classification models is the Availability Environment Classification (AEC) of the Harvard Research Group, which ranges from AEC-0 to AEC-5.

Operational Sustainability certification[edit]

In addition to the aforementioned tier certification, Uptime Institute also awards Operational Sustainability certification which aims at management, operations and maintenance of the site rather than its design topology. The Operational Sustainability establishes the behaviours and risks beyond the Tier Classification System (I, II, III, IV) that impact long-term data center performance. It builds a bridge between the site management behaviours and the Tier functionality of the site infrastructure. The three major elements of Operational Sustainability certification are

  • Management and operations (e.g. staffing presence, staffing qualification, maintenance programs)
  • Building characteristics (e.g. additional UPS)
  • Site location (e.g. flooding, transportation corridors)

Operational Sustainability Certification is issued in three levels:

  • Gold - full uptime potential of the installed infrastructure realized or exceeded
  • Silver - opportunities for improvement in order to achieve the full potential of the installed infrastructure
  • Bronze - significant opportunities for improvement in order to achieve the full potential of the installed infrastructure

The Operational Sustainability certification becomes suffix to Tier Certification, thus leading to e.g. Tier III Gold.

The Brill Awards[edit]

In September, 2013 the Uptime Institute announced the creation of the Brill Awards (named in honor of the late founder of the Uptime Institute, Ken Brill). The Awards are described as having been created 'to recognize efficiency in the broadest sense of the word—efficiency of capital deployment, technology, design, operations, and overall management'.

The Awards recognize IT efficiency in five categories, across four global regions: North America, EMEA, Latin America, and APAC. Judges will consider the merits of projects in each of the five categories. At their discretion, as many as 20 worldwide Brill Award winners will be selected.

The categories are:

  • Data Center Design
  • Operational Data Center Upgrade
  • Data Center Facilities Management
  • IT Systems Efficiency
  • Product Solutions

See also[edit]


External links[edit]