The Uptime Institute announced last month awards that recognize data centers pursuing greater efficiency. The awards come in two flavors: “Stamp of Approval” for facilities that meet certain efficiency standards and “Activated” for facilities on their way to achieving Stamp of Approval. The Uptime Institute is well known for its “Tier” ratings—a much used and much abused system for certifying a data center’s availability level. According to David Chernicoff at DatacenterDynamics, “The Efficient IT Stamp of Approval follows in the footsteps of the Uptime Institute’s Management & Operations Stamp of Approval award, which was introduced in 2011.”
These efficiency awards, however, differ fundamentally from the Tier rating system (beyond just their differing subject matter). Availability is a critical aspect of data center operations that directly affects customers’ business. Efficiency, however, has less of a direct impact. A more efficient data center may deliver certain intangible benefits, but apart from a superior service offering or lower price—benefits that greater efficiency may not necessarily enable—it’s just a “nice to have” for many customers. So, the value of these awards will depend on the market’s demand for a certain level of certified efficiency as a condition of doing business. If all that matters is price and service, however, these awards may simply be a lower-end marketing tool.
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