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Data Centres to Get MOT-Style Certificates

Data Centres to Get MOT-Style Certificates

Data centre operators around the world can now submit their facilities for assessment by independent monitors under the terms of an MOT-style scheme being rolled out by the international Data Centre Alliance (DCA).

dcaThe thinking behind the initiative is that potential and existing data centre users should be equipped with more relevant and easily intelligible information about the standard of services they might be able to expect from a particular data centre. So just as an MOT assures road-users that vehicles meet with certain safety standards, the DCA’s certificates should give data centre users confidence that the services they use are up to scratch.

Key capabilities in terms of the quality and resilience of a particular data centre facility will be scrutinised first and foremost as part of the certification process, the DCA said on announcing the initiative at the recent Data Centre World event in London.

Until now, prospective data centre clients have struggled to find an effective and reliable method to establish standards in the industry short of a full-scale audit.

The DCA benefits from counting data centre organisations from around the world among its members and it has made clear that the certification scheme has been made possible only by cooperation among operators, customers, suppliers, academics and professionals. Importantly, the MOT-style strategy has been designed with customer goals in mind rather than being focussed purely on the needs or benefits that might’ve been derived by relevant businesses in the data centre industry.

“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,” explains the DCA’s executive director Simon Campbell-Whyte.

“Our members haven’t reinvented the wheel. 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.”

The DCA came up with the basis for the data centre certification programme but will not be carrying out the audits or assessments itself, that work will be carried out by independent third parties to with the aim of ensuring consistency and impartiality. As well as aiming to make its tests and its seal of approval trust-worthy and reliable, the DCA has made clear that it wants the process to be affordable so that it can become widespread in countries around the world.

Basic standards will of course be analysed under the DCA’s certification guidelines but so too will issues like the resilience of power supplies, connectivity, cabling, environmental control and physical site access. Energy efficiency and sustainability strategies will also form part of the equation, the DCA has said.

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