Tier Certification


Uptime Institute's Tier Standard: Operational Sustainability provides Tier Certified data center owners, operators, and managers with the prioritized behaviors and risks intrinsic to data center operations and serves as an essential guide for effective and efficient operations. Adherence to the recommended behaviors will assist in attaining the full performance potential of the installed infrastructure, reduce downtime risk, avoid costly errors, and uncover opportunities to increase energy efficiency.

Have a production data center that is not Tier Certified? The same operational validation is available for non-Tier Certified data centers with our Management and Operations Stamp of Approval which can be seen here.

Sustainable Data Center Operations

The Operational Sustainability criteria pinpoint those elements that impact long-term data center availability in three key categories: Management & Operations, Building Characteristics, and Site Location. All three elements impact the performance potential of the Tier topology of the installed infrastructure.

While it’s true that many data center incidents can be attributed directly to human error it could have been mitigated prior to impact. These incidents unfortunately reflects the upstream management decisions regarding staffing levels, training, maintenance, the number and details of processes and procedures, and the overall rigor of the operation. Every aspect of the site infrastructure and management practices must be properly aligned to sustain operations.

Data Center Operational Excellence

The Tier Classification System is the recognized global standard for data center reliability and performance. Achieving Tier Certification of Operational Sustainability verifies that practices and procedures are in place to avoid preventable errors, maintain IT functionality, and support effective site operation. The Certification process ensures operations are in alignment with your organization's business objectives, availability expectations, and mission imperatives.

All Tier Certification of Operational Sustainability awards issued after 1 January 2014 will expire as follows: three years from the award date for Gold, two years for Silver, and one year for Bronze. This will not impact Tier Certification of Operational Sustainability issued or contracted prior to that date.

The Operational Sustainability rating, when determined by Uptime Institute, becomes a suffix to the Tier Certification. Uptime Institute Tier Certification of the installed infrastructure (Tier Certification of Design Documents followed by Tier Certification of Constructed Facility) is a prerequisite to the Operational Sustainability rating.


To design, manage, and operate the critical infrastructure your business depends on, you need the most authoritative, evidence-based, and unbiased guidance. For two decades, the business-critical infrastructure industry has relied on the unparalleled expertise, best-practice standards, and innovation of Uptime Institute. We've helped enterprise and vendor organizations around the globe build and maintain business-critical infrastructure to optimize performance, reliability, and efficiency.

The Data Center Experts

Uptime Institute is recognized worldwide for the creation and administration of the rigorous Tier Standards & Certifications that enable data centers to achieve their mission while mitigating risk. Our senior-level consulting services help companies design, build, launch, and manage data center operations—whether a single facility or a complex global portfolio—that are resilient and effective.

Our experts possess deep background in both IT and infrastructure, combined with decades of experience managing high-availability environments. They draw on Uptime Institute's proprietary methodology and the world's largest repository of data center research to help you attain and sustain operational excellence and efficiency.

Design – When you’re putting millions of dollars into building a new data center, you want to ensure that the facility is going to provide the level of IT performance and reliability that satisfies your business objective for 24 x 7 availability. At the same time, the project has to balance risk management, energy efficiency, and cost considerations, and ultimately deliver ROI. Tier Certifications in Design Documents (TCDD) are the preeminent industry standards to ensure your planned facility design aligns with your ultimate business objectives.

Construction – Tier Certification of Constructed Facility (TCCF) ensures that your facility has been constructed as designed, and verifies that it is capable of meeting the defined availability requirements. Even the best laid plans can go awry, and common construction phase practices or value engineering proposals can compromise the design intent of a data center. 

Operations – Wherever you are in the data center life cycle—from designing a new facility to managing aging site infrastructure—Uptime Institute's Facility Management and Operations methodology can be applied to ensure operational effectiveness and reduce risk. Operational Sustainability is the culmination of the Tier Certification process signifying your organization's leadership; the Management & Operations (M&O) Stamp of Approval offers third-party validation to existing facilities independent of the Tier Classification System.

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