Data Center Tiers: Which Classification Is Right for Your Server?

All data centers serve the same general purpose; however, they are not created equal. Uptime Institute created a Tier Classification System to set industry standards and help consumers determine which data centers are the best choice for their business’s needs.

Uptime Institute’s Tier System ranges from the most basic Tier I data centers to the most advanced Tier IV. Each Tier increases the redundant components utilized within the data center, making them better able to manage high-density computing and industry-leading uptime.

Tier I: These data centers offer the underlying needs of all data centers. These components include dedicated space, uninterruptable power supply (UPS) systems, dedicated cooling, and engine generators. Momentary outages can be managed well, and Tier I data centers are ideal for smaller businesses that can afford downtime. Larger businesses that need more stable uptimes will likely want to continue down the list.

Tier II: The basic requirements of Tier I data centers are built upon in Tier II. Here, we find some redundant measures added, such as additional power and cooling equipment (UPS modules, chillers or pumps, extra generators, etc.) These open the door for maintenance to be performed, or for unforeseen IT issues to occur, with less disruption to customer processes.

Tier III: As we move into the latter half of the Tiers, data centers become heartier. In Tier III data centers, there’s no need to shut down for maintenance or equipment replacement. The redundancy of Tier II data centers is further built upon with extra paths for power and cooling to each component needed to support the IT processing environment. Larger businesses that cannot afford excessive downtime may want to start their data center searches at this Tier.

Tier IV: The top Tier in the Classification system includes Fault Tolerance, or the ability for individual equipment failure or path distribution interruptions to occur without affecting IT operations. This concept is ideal for large businesses who cannot afford any downtime.

At the end of the day, no single Tier of data center is “the best.” As we move up the Tier ladder, the costs and challenges of maintaining the data center increase, as do the intricacies of the controls put in place to maintain uptime. The Tier required for a data center will vary depending on the needs of the business, so it’s important to carefully consider what your business requires.

123Net provides premier colocation space for Michigan businesses. Our data centers are classified as Tier III, offer a 100 percent power uptime Service Level Agreement (SLA), and are trusted by over a dozen Fortune 500 companies. To learn more about 123Net, or to schedule a data center tour, visit https://www.123.net/data-center/

Data Center Redundancy: 2N, N+1, 2(N+1) Explained

Maintaining 100 percent uptime should be a top priority for every data center. If data centers experience power outages, customers can lose thousands of dollars for every second they are down. 123Net heavily invests in 2(N+1) redundant data center infrastructure to protect customers from losses.

What Does Redundancy Mean in Data Centers?
When data center providers advertise their facilities’ redundancy, they are referring to the amount of backup power available. If utility failures occur due to severe weather, equipment failure or powerline damage, data centers with more redundant power will be better equipped to avoid costly periods of downtime.

Most data centers have systems in place to cut the risk of downtime. These systems can be categorized into N+1, 2N, and 2(N+1).

What is N+1?
A simplified way to look at N+1 is if you were ordering bagels for an office breakfast. There are 20 people working in your office and you decide to order one more bagel than needed, just in case. “N” would represent the exact number of bagels you need (20), while the extra bagel is the “+1”. You would be showing up to work with N+1 or 21 bagels.

Applying this to data centers, “N” could stand for the number of uninterruptible power supply (UPS) modules needed. The “+1” would be one more module than required. Having more power available than needed lowers the chance of downtime. Although N+1 is often called “parallel redundancy” these data centers are not fully redundant because they share common circuitry instead of being sourced from two separate fields.

What about 2N or 2(N+1)?
If you ordered bagels with a 2N mindset, you would order 20 bagels from one bagel shop and 20 more from another shop. The 2N would stand for two times, or double, “N”, the number of bagels you would need. If one of the bagel shop loses your order, you will still have enough.

For data centers, having 2N redundancy means you have twice the amount of equipment needed with no single point of failure. When extended power outages occur, 2N systems will be maintained without losing power to subsequent systems.

If a data center offers 2(N+1) redundancy, it has double the amount of power equipment needed, plus an additional UPS module on each side. Referring to the bagel example, you would order 21 bagels from two different shops. If one of the shops doesn’t deliver and there is an issue with one of the bagels that do show up, you will still have enough.  For this reason, 2(N+1) data centers offer the highest guaranteed uptime.

123Net’s four 2(N+1) redundant data centers come with a 100 percent power uptime Service Level Agreement. If your business cannot afford losing access to mission-critical applications, consider collocating at 123Net. To learn more about power redundancy, schedule a data center tour with 123Net today. Visit https://www.123.net/data-center/

Advantages of Switching to Hosted IP PBX

Businesses depend on their ability to effectively communicate with customers. Implementing a Hosted IP PBX voice solution will immediately limit any concerns from a technological perspective, providing the scalability needed to become a long-term voice solution.

What Is Hosted IP PBX?

Hosted IP PBX replaces a customer’s premise-based PBX with the service provider’s off-site equipment. The provider becomes responsible for owning and operating all the physical equipment, taking the burden off the customer. It also improves the reliability of voice and comes with 24x7x365 support.

Reliability

123Net’s service is owned and operated within their Tier 3, 2(N+1) data centers, eliminating power downtime concerns. Their network is also backed by a reliable 100 Gbps+ backbone that allows maximum redundancy and on-demand bandwidth availability.

In case of emergency, customers always have the option to forward phone numbers or change routing easily through an online web portal. If Internet access is unavailable, users can also call the network operations center (NOC) at any time to enable emergency call forward.

123Net’s Hosted IP PBX servers are virtual machines that run on host servers within the 123Net colocation spaces. The virtual servers are routinely replicated between multiple spaces throughout the day. If the primary PBX becomes unresponsive for any reason, 123Net can enable a backup at any time.

Flexibility

Hosted IP PBX services are great for customers with specific needs. Customers can provide access to a user control panel (UCP), allowing individuals to control the way they receive calls. One of these options is a softphone, which can be installed on a cellular device or desktop.

Find me / follow me is another useful feature that customers can use to shape the way they receive calls. Find me allows users to receive calls at multiple locations, while follow me allows users to be reached at several different phone numbers. Numbers are assigned to be called concurrently or sequentially, according to a user’s scheduled activities and locations. If necessary, calls can then be sent to a voicemail of their choosing. For example, a user could set their phone to ring four times at their desk, then reach their cell phone, and then leave a voicemail in their cellular mailbox if needed.

Scalability

Companies with Hosted IP PBX systems are well equipped to support future growth because lines can be easily added or subtracted without future investments. Businesses can promptly add as many lines as their network traffic permits. This gives businesses the adaptability to manage rapid growth.

123Net’s Hosted IP PBX is backed by a 99.99% network uptime Service Level Agreement. Learn more about how this solution can benefit your business here: https://www.123.net/hosted-ip-pbx/

What is a SOC 2 Report?

In the world of data centers, keeping customer information safe is critical. 123Net has taken several measures, including SOC 2 compliance, to ensure that each customer’s most valuable data will be secure.

What Is SOC?

SOC is an acronym for Service Organization Controls. It consists of standards used to determine how well organizations handle their information. Independent accounts conduct SOC audits by determining whether proper safeguards and procedures are in place.

What is SOC 2?

SOC 2 reports are targeted toward providers that store information in the cloud. It is a strict technical audit, focusing on five principles of trust: security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy.

Security

To earn SOC 2 compliance, providers must prove that customers are protected against unauthorized access. Auditors analyze how equipped a data center is to prevent theft and system abuse. Firewalls and intrusion detection services are two elements that play an important role in this.

Availability

Providers must prove that their system, products and services are accessible, as stipulated by a set contract and/or a Service Level Agreement (SLA). To ensure that both parties meet their predetermined minimum acceptable performance level, auditors track network performance, availability, site failover and security.

Processing Integrity

Data centers with satisfactory processing integrity deliver data accurately and completely in a timely manner. Auditors closely monitor data processing and quality assurance to help evaluate processing integrity

Confidentiality

Confidential information is any set of data that is disclosed and restricted to a certain group of people. Providers must show that they can avoid leaking private data, business plans, intellectual property and several other items to prove this. Encryption, firewalls and rigorous controls are pieces of evidence that auditors use to determine confidentiality.

Privacy

Providers must show that they can effectively collect, retain, use, disclose and dispose of customers’ personal information.  Details such as race, sexuality, health and religion should always be protected for the sake of the customer.

When customers choose their data center providers, security is always a top priority. All four of 123Net’s data centers are consistently audited to maintain SSAE-18 SOC 2 Type II / SOC 3, HIPAA and PCI-DSS compliance, ensuring that each customer’s most confidential data is well protected, stored and maintained.

To learn more about colocating at 123Net’s four SOC 2 certified, Michigan data centers, visit https://www.123.net/data-center/ or schedule a tour today!