Because data centers are larger and more complex than ever, ”seat-of-the-pants“ construction doesn’t really work well anymore for any network much larger than a home network. “Guesstimating” can eventually lead to all kinds of problems ranging from overheating to inadequate power to lost data.
To standardize best-practice network construction, in 2005 the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) published the TIA-942 standard that set requirements for network architecture, system redundancy, security, file backup, hosting, and power management, as well as a number of other procedures. TIA-942 covers not just the network itself but also supplemental services. Over half the standard covers matters such as electrical systems, HVAC, fire detection and suppression, and building construction. The standard defines four tiers of data centers, with Tier 1 being a simple server room and Tier 4 being a mission-critical data center with high security and redundancy. Tier 4 data centers are designed for 99.995% availability.
TIA-942 helps to ensure consistency and produces networks with high reliability, expandability, and scalability. Because TIA-942 is intended to optimize network performance, a sure-fire way to sub-optimal network performance is to ignore the standard and creatively cut corners. Unfortunately, many installers do cut corners—either to cut costs or sometimes because they don’t know any better.
When having a data center built, insist that the contractor build to TIA-942 standards. Have your data center independently audited and certified. This precaution could save you from future demons such as power disturbances, overheating, and downtime.