Uptime vs. TIA-942: A short history

Uptime vs. TIA-942: A short history

Published on May 14, 2017

Edward van Leent
Chairman & CEO at EPI Group of Companies

Before getting into the details of Uptime vs. TIA-942, I thought it would be a good idea to provide a bit of background so that some of the matters that will be discussed in upcoming articles can be seen in the light of the bigger scheme of things.

Uptime (UTI) came up with the data centre classification scheme based on four (4) different levels which probably all readers of this article know are indicated by the term “Tier”. It was first released in 1995 with the title “Tier Classifications Define Site Infrastructure Performance". In 2005, this title was update to "Tier Standard Topology" also referred to as TST.

In the early 2000’s the TR42 committee of TIA decided to create a telecommunication standard for data centres. UTI and TIA got in touch with each other and UTI gave TIA the legal right to use the Tier philosophy it had developed for inclusion into what ultimately became the ANSI/TIA-942 (TIA-942) standard. There were a few key differences such as that TIA-942 did not only address Electrical and Mechanical as defined at a high level in the TST, but also included many other factors in two additional sections being Architectural and Telecommunication (I will expand more on some of the key (technical) differences in another article). Both UTI and TIA were using the term Tier to indicate the four different levels of design principles. UTI was, and still is, using the Roman numerals (I, II, III, IV) whereas TIA was using the Arabic-Indic numerals (1,2,3,4).   

TIA released the ANSI/TIA-942 standard in 2005. The standard very quickly became popular for a variety of reasons. This was amplified when a number of organizations started to perform conformity assessments based on the ANSI/TIA-942 which clearly was creating a much more competitive environment in the market place where previously UTI was pretty much the sole player. There was also some level of confusion in the market when organizations were talking about having a Tier-X data centre without providing the reference as to whether this claim was based on either UTI-TST or the ANSI/TIA-942. These reasons slowly became more and more of an irritation point and in 2013 UTI approached TIA with the request for TIA to drop the term ‘Tier’ from the ANSI/TIA-942 standard. 

TIA, being a non-profit organization, had no issues with that and as such it was mutually agreed upon that TIA would strike of the term ‘Tier’ from the ANSI/TIA-942 standard and replace it with the term Rated/Rating in the 2014 version of the Standard. In an upcoming article, I will discuss in more detail about the rights of using the term Tier and/or Rated/Rating as there are unfortunately some misperceptions about the legal rights with respect to the usage of the term ‘Tier’.

The above episode basically ended the relation between UTI and TIA and each of the parties are now working individually on the current and future versions of their own independent documents.


Article 1 | Uptime vs. TIA-942: Introduction, why this series of articles?

Article 2 | Uptime vs. TIA-942: A short history

Article 3 | Uptime vs. TIA-942: Standard or guideline?

Article 4 | Uptime vs. TIA-942: What is within the scope?

Article 5 | Uptime vs. TIA-942: Outcome based or checklist or can it be both?

Article 6 | Uptime vs. TIA-942: Uptime certification is easy, ANSI/TIA-942 certification is difficult

More coming soon!
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