Why Your Data Centre Should Be Certified for 100% Uptime

Jan 24, 2024


The Importance of Uptime in the Data Centre


In the competitive landscape of the digital age, organisations are increasingly reliant on the consistent availability of their data centres. Uptime, defined as the guaranteed annual availability of a data centre, has become a critical metric in assessing the robustness of data centre infrastructure. While many data centres boast about achieving 100% uptime, the question arises: why should your data centre be certified for 100% uptime, especially when not all uptime claims are independently certified?

Understanding Uptime in a Data Centre

Uptime is a measure of how often a particular resource is available during all the minutes or seconds of a given year. It is a crucial factor for organisations that rely on uninterrupted data centre services. The industry often measures uptime in "nines," indicating the ratio between the number of minutes a system is available and the total minutes in a year. The higher the number of nines, the lower the downtime.

Here's a breakdown of uptime categories and maximum annual downtime commonly associated with data centre services:

  • Tier I: availability of 99.671%, uptime per year, allowing a maximum of 28.8 hours of downtime.
  • Tier II: availability of 99.741%, permitting up to 22 hours of downtime.
  • Tier III: availability of 99.982%, allowing a maximum of 1.6 hours of downtime.

  • Tier IV: availability of 99.995%, allowing a maximum of 26.3 minutes of downtime.

Why Uptime is Important for Your Organisation

The expenses and repercussions of IT system downtime have surged to unprecedented levels in today's interconnected world, driven by the heightened reliance on IT systems propelled by digital transformation. Any disruption to these systems can lead to substantial financial losses, operational disruptions, and damage to an organisation's reputation.

  • Uptime Institute's Analysis (2022)
    Uptime Institute's analysis of outages in 2022 reveals a worsening scenario. Over 60% of failures resulted in total losses exceeding $100,000, a significant increase from 39% in 2019. The proportion of outages causing losses surpassing $1 million rose from 11% to 15% during the same period.

  • Gartner's Insights on Downtime Costs
    According to Gartner, the average cost of IT downtime is $5,600 per minute. Downtime costs vary widely due to diverse operational structures, ranging from as low as $140,000 per hour to an average of $300,000 per hour, and reaching as high as $540,000 per hour. Notably, 98% of organizations emphasize that a single hour of downtime exceeds $100,000 in costs. Furthermore, 81% of respondents disclose that 60 minutes of downtime results in expenses exceeding $300,000, while 33% report that one hour of downtime costs their firms between $1 million and $5 million.

  • Case Study: Microsoft's Service Disruption (January 25, 2023)
    On January 25, 2023, Microsoft experienced a service disruption lasting several hours, impacting Microsoft 365 services, including Microsoft Teams, and affecting more than 280 million users. This incident underscored that even high-performing teams are susceptible to disruptions.

These instances underscore the significant impacts that even brief service disruptions can have on major organisations.

Exploring the Crucial Factors in Tier Selection for Uninterrupted Operations

When contemplating data centre uptime tiers, organisations must thoroughly evaluate their business needs and the potential financial consequences of unforeseen events. The tier selection should harmonise with the criticality of organisations operations and the acceptable level of revenue loss in the face of unplanned disruptions.

Key considerations for determining the suitable tier include:

  1. Business Criticality: Assess the significance of your organisations operations. For applications and services where downtime equates to substantial financial loss, opting for a higher tier with enhanced redundancy and reliability becomes imperative.
  2. Revenue Impact: Understand the financial repercussions of downtime. Factor in the direct and indirect costs associated with interruption to your critical infrastructure. While higher-tier data centres may involve greater initial costs, they can mitigate the risk of significant revenue loss during unplanned events.
  3. Operational Resilience: Assess the resilience requirements of your organisation. Higher-tier data centres offer increased redundancy in power, cooling, and connectivity, reducing the likelihood of service interruptions. This is vital for organisations requiring continuous and dependable operations.
  4. Cost-Benefit Analysis: Conduct a cost-benefit analysis to strike a balance between the initial investment in a higher-tier data centre and potential revenue loss during downtime. Achieving the right equilibrium ensures optimal resource allocation based on your organisation's financial capacity.
  5. Future Growth and Scalability: Consider your organisation's growth trajectory. Select a tier that aligns with future expansion plans and scalability requirements. This ensures that the chosen data centre can accommodate evolving organisational needs without compromising uptime.
  6. Compliance and Regulatory Requirements: Take into account industry-specific compliance and regulatory standards. Certain sectors, such as finance and healthcare, may have stringent uptime requirements. Choosing a data centre tier that aligns with these standards is crucial for regulatory compliance.
  7. Service Level Agreements (SLAs): Review the SLAs offered by data centre providers. Ensure that the uptime commitments align with your business requirements. Clear and well-defined SLAs provide a contractual basis for the expected level of service.

Additionally, when a data centre claims to offer 100% uptime, it is imperative to verify certification by the Uptime Institute. This certification ensures that the data centre meets stringent standards for reliability and has the necessary infrastructure in place to deliver uninterrupted services.


Choosing the Right Data Centre Tier: Aligning Operational Needs with Industry Best Practices

The selection of a data centre tier is a strategic decision intertwined with industry insights and operational requirements. Evaluating industry trends can guide this decision-making process:

  • Tier 1: Suitable for small organisations and startups, but it's essential to gauge alignment with industry standards and customer expectations regarding reliability.
  • Tier 2: Ideal for small, medium organisations seeking cost-effective reliability, reflecting a balance between affordability and operational efficiency according to industry trends.
  • Tier 3: Tailored for large organisations managing extensive data sets, especially those prioritising enhanced reliability for sensitive or critical data based on industry insights.
  • Tier 4: Geared towards enterprises with mission-critical servers and rigorous business demands, meeting industry-specific requirements in finance or healthcare.

In conclusion, the selection of a data centre tier extends beyond technical considerations; it is a strategic decision informed by industry insights, ensuring seamless alignment with specific operational needs and adherence to industry standards, ultimately emphasizing the importance of 100% uptime for business success."

Why Uptime Institute Certification Is Important Data Centre Selection

Selecting the appropriate data centre tier involves strategic decision-making intertwined with industry-specific considerations, emphasizing the crucial role of industry insights in this process. Industry knowledge provides tailored guidance, ensuring alignment with the unique operational demands and standards prevalent in a particular sector.

The significance of achieving 100% uptime is paramount, particularly when viewed through the lens of industry expectations. Different sectors have varying tolerances for downtime, and insights from the industry help businesses gauge the required level of reliability. For example, in sectors dealing with sensitive data or providing critical services, the importance of continuous operations is heightened, making higher-tier data centres with enhanced redundancy and reliability a strategic imperative.

Moreover, Uptime Institute certification plays a substantial role in the data centre selection process. The Institute's certification serves as a reliable benchmark, guaranteeing that a data centre meets stringent industry standards for reliability and performance. This certification not only signifies adherence to best practices but also assures businesses that the chosen data centre is committed to maintaining the highest levels of uptime. Achieving Uptime Institute certification is particularly significant as it establishes a concrete standard for reliability, offering businesses confidence in the data centre's ability to consistently deliver optimal performance and uptime. Ultimately, the combination of industry insights and Uptime Institute certification ensures that organisations make informed decisions, aligning their data centre strategy with both sector-specific expectations and globally recognised standards for optimal reliability and performance.

Uptime Institute Certifications

Founded in 1993, the Uptime Institute is a globally recognised entity that created the Tier certifications to measure and qualify a data centre's infrastructure availability. The certification is divided into four levels: Tier I to Tier IV, each indicating the level of redundancy and fault tolerance.

Key components of Uptime Institute Certification

  1. Design Documents:
    Evaluates infrastructure, performance, and capacity based on project plans.

  2. Constructed Facility
    Endorses construction according to the project.

  3. Operational Sustainability
    Observes processes and maturity to ensure continuous availability.

Benefits of Tier Certification:

Achieving a Tier rating signifies to investors, customers, and the marketplace that your facility meets the highest standards for infrastructure functionality and capacity. It validates that your system design aligns with uptime objectives, helping minimise unplanned downtime and unnecessary spending.

Why Tier IV Data Centre Certification Matters

Tier IV is the highest level of independent certification available globally, providing a rigorous framework for assessing and certifying the resilience of digital infrastructure. With certification levels covering both infrastructure design and operational sustainability, Tier IV ensures that your organisation's significant capital investment aligns with uptime objectives.


Uptime per year

Downtime per year


Estimated Cost of Downtime per year1


Tier I


<28.8 hours



Small businesses, Start-ups, Simple req.

Tier II


<22 hours

Partial power and cooling redundancy



Tier III


<1.6 hours

N+1 fault tolerance


Growing businesses,

Large businesses

Tier IV


<26.3 minutes

2N or 2N+1 fully fault-tolerant


Government entities,

Large enterprises, International reach

1Gartner estimates based on average size of organisation and cost per minute of $8,500.


In conclusion, ensuring that your data centre is certified for 100% uptime, particularly with a Tier IV certification, is crucial for maintaining operational excellence, instilling confidence in stakeholders, and safeguarding against potential financial losses due to downtime. Uptime Institute's globally recognised certification provides a reliable benchmark for organisations striving for the highest standards in data centre infrastructure and operations.

Try the Uptime Institute's search platform to identify whether your data centre is certified and discover other certified data centres.

Why Choose NEXTDC for Your Data Centre Needs?

Dynamic Partner Ecosystem:  

Leverage Australia's most extensive partner ecosystem with a community of 750+ partners to enable more connections with carriers, cloud providers, and IT service providers. 

Hybrid Cloud Experience: 

Empowering customers to leverage cloud first strategies and optimise multi-cloud deployments to scale mission critical IT infrastructure. 

AI, High-Performance Computing and Edge Design:  

NEXTDC is at the forefront of supporting Edge computing and High-Performance Compute (HPC) requirements, providing customised solutions to accelerate your AI journey.  

100% Uptime:  

The only data centre operator in the southern hemisphere with Tier IV Gold certification for Operational Sustainability, NEXTDC guarantees zero downtime for reliability and performance. 

Data Centre Interconnectivity:  

Secure, private, and direct access to Australia’s most connected range of global cloud providers, integrated with a nationwide network of data centre facilities. 

World Class Design and Operations: 

Internationally recognised for designing, constructing, and operating Australia’s market leading Tier IV facilities, certified by globally renowned Uptime Institute. 

Sustainability Driven:  

Demonstrating a commitment to sustainability, NEXTDC prioritises renewable energy sources, achieving leading standards such as 5-star NABERS energy efficiency ratings and TRUE certification. 

DTA Certification for Government Agencies:  

NEXTDC is certified by Australia’s Digital Transformation Agency (DTA), to ensure compliant and sovereign critical infrastructure choice for government at all levels. 

Industry Recognition:  

NEXTDC, a listed company on the ASX 100, stands out with industry peer awards as the region's most innovative and customer focused data centre provider. 

Carbon Neutral Operations:  

NEXTDC's corporate operations are certified carbon neutral under the Australian Government’s Climate Active Carbon Neutral Standard. 

Efficiency and Cost Management:  

Engineered for outstanding energy efficiency, NEXTDC data centres deliver industry-leading benchmarks for minimising operational cost and total cost of ownership. 


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