International industry body the Data Centre Alliance (DCA) has launched what it calls the world’s first independent multi-disciplinary data centre certification – the DCA Data Centre Certification programme.
“Until now, people buying data centre services had no sure-fire or simple way to judge the true quality and resilience of a data centre – unless they themselves were highly technical and could perform detailed and often expensive audits,” said Simon Campbell-Whyte, the DCA’s executive director, in a statement. “Equally, 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 – to gain independent third-party attestation of the quality, operational integrity, energy efficiency and resilience of their offering.”
The certification program has been developed by the Data Centre Alliance’s members – an international collaboration between data centre operators, customers, suppliers, academics and professional individuals. It is the first to be based on customer business goals rather than on pure, and often economically unrealistic, technical requirements.
“Our members haven’t reinvented the wheel,” said Campbell-Whyte, “what they have done is to harmonize 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. Finally, customers and data centres will be able to have certainty in what they are offering or buying – because like the energy rating on a refrigerator, it will have been independently assessed by a third party.”
The Data Centre Alliance has devised the certification program and will be the certifying authority, and a range of DCA approved auditing companies will undertake this work, providing choice for the customer and reducing the cost of certification to data centre operators.
There were some existing certifications that covered just the design phase of the data centre, but the DCA said it felt a comprehensive certification scheme was needed which covered not only the design stage, but also the data centre whilst in operation on a day-to-day basis. It also felt that, in order to keep their certification status, data centres should undergo re-audit every two years and an annual DCA surveillance check.
Independent approved auditors currently include PTS Consulting, CST Technology, Future Tech and Cerios and other potential auditors are encouraged to contact the Data Centre Alliance for details of how to become DCA approved.