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A quick primer on the ANSI/TIA-942 standard

Industry standards help organizations minimize downtime and ensure operational quality. With ANSI/TIA-942, IT teams can certify their infrastructure for mission-critical sites.

ANSI/TIA-942 is a popular standard for data centers to ensure uptime and standardize physical infrastructure. Two organizations are responsible for the creation, maintenance and monitoring of this standard and the guidelines that industries use worldwide: American National Standards Institute and the Telecommunications Industry Association.

The ANSI/TIA-942 standard covers the telecommunications infrastructure and other physical aspects of the mission-critical data center, such as the site location, architecture, electrical and mechanical systems, fire safety and security.

The certification applies to any size data center or modular data center product, including single-tenant enterprise data centers and multi-tenant internet hosting data centers. The standard consists of three types and four rating levels, which authorized auditors assign to enterprises.

Types of ANSI/TIA-942 Certification

Data centers can achieve two different types of certification: Data Center Design Validation (DCDV) and Data Center Conformity Certification (DCCC). Data center products can achieve the ANSI/TIA-942 Ready certification.

ANSI/TIA-942 Design Certification

This DCDV certification is an in-depth verification of the site design to ensure it meets the rating levels of the standard. It applies to designs for new-build or as-built data centers, and the review includes an off-site review of the plans and drawings.

After the audit, organizations receive a comprehensive report that outlines any nonconformities and high-level suggestions for improvements. IT teams then have a chance to remedy any of the nonconformities. After the auditors review the Corrective Action Report (CAR), they will issue the ANSI/TIA-942 Design Conformity Certificate, if satisfied with the corrections.

The Design Certification is valid for one year and is extendable if the site isn't yet operational.

ANSI/TIA-942 Site/Facilities Certification

The DCCC is an on-site verification of a newly built data center or a recently renovated existing one. Organizations with new data center builds will typically do a DCDV before proceeding with the DCCC, while only existing data centers undertake the DCCC.

This consists of an on-site review of the in-scope physical facilities against the rating levels described in the ANSI/TIA-942 standard. Organizations that undertake an audit receive a comprehensive report that outlines any nonconformities. Once an organization remedies any major nonconformities, the auditors will review the CAR and will issue the ANSI/TIA-942 Design Conformity Certificate if satisfied.

The facilities certification is valid for three years, along with annual surveillance audits.

ANSI/TIA-942 Ready Certification

This certification indicates a data center-related product is designed to follow requirements of a respective ANSI/TIA rating level. Once the product is in the data center, it should continue to meet the indicated rating level.

This certification often applies to edge, prefabricated or container-based data centers; the ready certification is valid for one year with an option to recertify.

ANSI/TIA-942 Standard Rating Levels

When a data center receives an ANSI/TIA-942 certification, it is assigned one of four levels.

Rated-1: Basic Site Infrastructure

The data center has single-capacity components; a single, nonredundant distribution path for all equipment; and limited protection against physical events.

Rated-2: Redundant Capacity Component Site Infrastructure

The data center has redundant capacity components; a single, nonredundant distribution path that serves the computer equipment; and improved protection against physical events.

Rated-3: Concurrently Maintainable Site Infrastructure

The data center has redundant capacity components, multiple independent distribution paths that serve the computer equipment and protect against most physical events. The site is concurrently maintainable so each capacity component that is part of the distribution path can be removed, replaced or serviced on a planned basis without downtime for end users.

Rated-4: Fault Tolerant Site Infrastructure

The data center has redundant capacity components; multiple active, independent distribution paths to serve the computer equipment; and has protection against almost all physical events. The site allows concurrent maintainability and one fault anywhere in the installation does not cause downtime to end users.

Why organizations should certify

The ANSI/TIA-942 standard is always evolving to match today's data center design requirements, including new technologies and design principles. There are that evaluate the standard and audit process. This means data center site owners are assured of the quality of both the audit and the certification.

An ANSI/TIA-942 certification helps an organization demonstrate to both internal and external end users that its data center is independently audited to meet an international standard for resilience and reliability.

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