Standards: The Key to Improving Data Center Resilience, Efficiency, and Sustainability

data center

Happy International Data Center Day from TIA!


On this day, it is important to reflect on how data center infrastructure standards are helping drive improvements for the reliability, security, and scalability of our digital life. Without standardization, data centers may not sufficiently meet industry best practices, resulting in increased risk for downtime, cybersecurity threats, and non-compliance with regulations. The TIA-942 standard, developed by TIA’s TR-42 Standards Engineering Committee, can significantly contribute to improving many areas of data center performance through infrastructure standardization.

The TIA-942 standard is a globally recognized standard developed by the members of the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) for a data center’s infrastructure. It provides guidelines and best practices for the design, construction, and operation of data centers. TIA-942 covers several critical areas of data center infrastructure, including architecture, telecommunications, power distribution, cooling, security, fire protection, and monitoring. The TIA-942 standard also provides different ratings of certification based on the level of redundancy, availability, and security of the data center.

One of the most significant benefits of the TIA-942 standard is that it ensures the data center overall reliability. The standard provides guidelines for enhancing redundancy and fault tolerance to ensure that critical systems are always available when needed. For example, TIA-942 recommends a minimum of two independent power sources for each critical system in a data center, ensuring that if one source fails, the other can provide power without interruption of services. The TIA-942 standard also provides guidelines for backup power systems, such as generators and uninterruptible power supplies (UPS), to ensure that data centers can operate at all times, even during power outages.

The TIA-942 standard also provides guidance for physical security. Physical measures, such as access controls and surveillance systems, help prevent unauthorized access to data centers. The standard also provides guidelines for firewalls and intrusion detection systems, to protect against potential threats from cybercriminals. By following the guidelines set forth in the TIA-942 standard, businesses can ensure that their data centers are secure and protected from potential threats.

Another significant attribute of the TIA-942 standard is that it is developed in a neutral setting by the members of a formally accredited standards development organization to ensure the standard continues to meet the requirements of the industry.  The standard provides proven guidelines for designing and building data centers capable of meeting the evolving needs of large and small businesses. Artificial intelligence, machine learning, and augmented reality need increased computing capacity and are also driving the increase in data center power requirements.   At the same time, the reduction of carbon emissions and the overall sustainability goals of the data center industry are driving wider adoption of reliable renewable energy sources as well as a more efficient usage of the traditional energy, not only in the operation of the data center but throughout its lifecycle.

In addition, TIA has developed a program to license companies that perform data center certifications based on the TIA-942 standard.  TIA encourages any company involved in the certification of data centers to contact TIA for more information.  Companies licensed by TIA have certified data centers in virtually every market worldwide.  The TIA-942 standard and licensed data center certification program are important components to ensuring data center infrastructure resiliency, security, and operational efficiency. By following the guidelines set forth in the TIA-942 standard, businesses can better demonstrate that their data centers meet industry best practices and provide the reliable infrastructure to support their critical digital operations. Data centers certified to TIA-942 provide customers a means for verifying compliance with industry best practices and can help businesses build greater trust with their customers, partners, and end users.