March 04, 2013
March 4 — Explained Data Centre Alliance executive director Simon Campbell-Whyte, "until now, people buying data centre services had no sure-fire or simple way to judge the true quality and resilience of a data centre – unless they themselves were highly technical and could perform detailed and often expensive audits.
"Equally, although data centres may, or may not, be built and operated to existing voluntary standards, there was no readily affordable and truly independently-audited over-arching certification which they could undertake – to gain independent third-party attestation of the quality, operational integrity, energy efficiency and resilience of their offering."
The new DCA Data Centre Certification program has been developed by the Data Centre Alliance's members – an international collaboration between data centre operators, customers, suppliers, academics and professional individuals. It is the first to be based on customer business goals rather than on pure, and often economically unrealistic, technical requirements.
"Our members haven't reinvented the wheel," said Campbell-Whyte, "what they have done is to harmonise the many available guidelines and standards – and devise an independently auditable certification platform that any data centre, anywhere in the world, can be equally tested and certified against.
"Finally, customers and data centres will be able to have certainty in what they are offering or buying – because like the energy rating on a refrigerator, it will have been independently assessed by a third party."
Although the Data Centre Alliance has devised the certification program and will be the certifying authority, it will not be undertaking the audits itself. Instead, a range of DCA approved auditing companies will undertake this work providing choice for the customer and drastically reducing the cost of certification to data centre operators. In effect the programme will follow a similar process to proven standards such as ISO certifications.
"Independence, transparency and affordability were the guiding principles in devising this scheme," said Campbell-Whyte, and it is available worldwide from today to any data centre whether they are members of the DCA or not."
There were some existing certifications that covered just the design phase of the data centre, but the members of Data Centre Alliance were adamant that a comprehensive certification scheme was needed which covered not only the design stage, but also the data centre whilst in operation on a day-to-day basis.
They also demanded that, in order to keep their certification status, data centres should undergo re-audit every two years and an annual DCA surveillance check, since it was found many design-based certifications obtained bear very little relation to the data centre after a few months or years of live operation.
The Data Centre Alliance's certification working group, also agreed that certification should cover every aspect of the datacentre – power resilience, connectivity & cabling resilience, environmental control resilience, operations & maintenance processes and professionalism, physical site access and energy efficiency strategy.
DCA Data Centre Certification is available worldwide, at a range of resilience levels aligned to business requirements.
Independent approved auditors currently include PTS Consulting, CST Technology, Future Tech and Cerios and other potential auditors are encouraged to contact the Data Centre Alliance for details of how to become DCA approved.
About Data Centre Alliance (DCA)
The Data Centre Alliance (DCA) is an international Industry association; the DCA's objective is to encourage collaboration between the 27 member states of the EU and with new, existing and growing markets internationally.
The DCA is committed to capturing the best expertise and experience from across the industry for developing standards and guidelines for data centre design, construction and operation. In addition, the DCA is also dedicated to developing programmes of research and innovation to ensure the future health, growth and sustainability of the industry. Membership is open to all operators of data centres and server rooms, however large or small, and organisations that supply the industry with products and services.
Source: Data Center Alliance
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