Memorandum of Understanding


1 June 2018

Terms of use of Uptime Institute (Institute) Tier Program Intellectual Property known as:

  • Data Center Site Infrastructure Tier Standard: Topology
  • Accredited Tier Designer Technical Paper Series (inclusive)
  • Data Center Site Infrastructure Tier Standard: Operational Sustainability
  • Natural Disaster Risk Location Map

The purpose of this memorandum of understanding (MOU) is to provide terms of use of Uptime Institute's copyrighted Tier Program intellectual property, including the publications listed above. Uptime Institute provides this MOU to enable appropriate access to the Tier Program reference materials.

Over the past 20 years, Uptime Institute has reviewed hundreds of ‘self-certified’ designs and constructed environments for Tier compliance as outlined in the Institute's Tier Standard: Topology. Very few of these designs and facilities meet the desired Tier criteria upon initial assessment. (In some cases, the objective was missed dramatically.) The magnitude and frequency of such false rating claims, which result from self-assessment and misrepresentations, degrade the value to the industry of Uptime Institute's Tiers, especially those designs and constructed environments awarded Uptime Institute Certification.

As a result, Uptime Institute seeks a) to ensure that Tiers and Operational Sustainability remain a useful benchmarking system to the industry and b) to protect the value its customers receive from formal Uptime Institute assessments and Certification by taking appropriate action to protect the intellectual property inherent in its Tier Program materials from misappropriation and infringement.

Uptime Institute is the sole provider of Tiers and Operational Sustainability consultation and Certification. Only the designs and facilities listed on Uptime Institute's Web site are Uptime Institute Tier Certified. All others proclaiming a specific Tier level are considered ‘self-certified' and should be viewed with extreme caution.

As an integral part of the expanding Tier Program, Uptime Institute will continue to communicate terms of use and provide additional tools for all perspectives of the data center community. In 2009, the Tier Program announced Accredited Tier Designer, which is an educational curriculum and professional designation for licensed Professional Engineers (PEs or international equivalent). A partner curriculum and professional designation, Accredited Tier Specialist—for data center owners, operators, architects, project managers, and consultants—will be offered beginning in Q4 2010. Additionally, Uptime Institute has launched a Tier Enforcement Initiative to address directly a) infringement on the Tiers Program's copyrighted materials and b) misrepresentations of a specific site's Tier functionality. The Tier Enforcement Initiative is initiated in direct response to requests for Uptime Institute action by Network members and Tier Certification clients.

Uptime Institute's publications are protected by international copyright law. Uptime Institute requires written requests whenever Uptime Institute’s literature or portions of Uptime Institute’s literature are copied for other than personal use. Uptime Institute copyright extends to all media—paper, electronic, and video content—and includes use in other publications, internal company distribution, company websites, and handouts for seminars and courses. In addition, Uptime Institute requires formal written permission for the re-publication of its Tier Program materials. Please request formal permission per (Uptime Institute prefers use of a url link or attached document to avoid confusion and ensure access to the correct materials.)

By clicking the 'I agree' option, I agree to the “use and distribution” requirements set forth in this document and will be able to download Uptime Institute's Tier Program materials in their entirety. Furthermore, I acknowledge receipt of this MOU dated June 1 2018, and I understand that the aforementioned documentation is copyrighted by the Uptime Institute. I agree that only Uptime Institute is permitted to use this content and criteria to perform Tier Standard Certification (Topology and Operational Sustainability) assessments and reviews, and that only the sites listed on Uptime Institute's Web site (shown below) can claim in any fashion or using any means, digital or otherwise, to be Tier Standard Certified. I understand that this acceptance does not entitle me to alter or quote from any documentation without explicit written approval from Uptime Institute. I also agree to include the next paragraph in its entirety without any changes or substitutions of any kind in all works that reference use of the Tier Standard: Topology or the Tier Standard: Operational Sustainability. This includes any facility or computing site which references the use of the “Tier Standard” on public websites and in promotional and/or training materials.

“This data center has been designed in accordance with the Uptime Institute Professional Services, Tier Standard: Topology specification, dated January 2018 which can be found at The appearance of the “Tier” logo or any written or verbal reference to the use of “Tier Standard”, “Tier”, “Tier I”, “Tier II”, “Tier III, and “Tier IV” does not indicate any form of certification by Uptime Institute”.