Your complete guide to understanding data centre tiers

The concept of a data centre may seem simple at first glance. After all, it’s effectively just a warehouse with stacks and stacks of humming, immobile servers. However, those servers may hold critical data and operate critical systems for your company, or the companies you rely on everyday. Are you well-enough prepared for a power outage or equipment failure?

Any expanding business needs to be aware of the challenges that come with choosing the right data centre for your needs. Luckily, there are universal data centre standards that allow you to evaluate the right level of security and stability for your company.

What are data centre tiers and how can your choice of data centre affect your business? Read on to discover the data centre tier ratings explained. You’ll find out what differentiates a simple warehouse from a high-tech facility, and how you can choose the best data centre for your business needs.

Data centre classification

Data centre classifications are consistent and regulated worldwide thanks to the standards created by the Uptime Institute in the mid-1990s. The institute is a neutral third party that inspects data centres and places them into one of four tiers of quality and reliability.

Standard data centre tiers

Tier differences are generally determined by two factors. The first is the ability to stay up and running even through repairs and necessary maintenance. The second is redundancy. This refers to the ability to continue functioning even if a necessary resource such as power or cooling were to fail. 

Tier 1 data centres

A Tier 1 data centre is the most basic level of data centre, essentially a warehouse with small-scale supporting infrastructure. This infrastructure must include:

  • An uninterruptible power supply (UPS) which instantly transfers the power supply to a stored battery. This protects against outages or spikes, but not for extended periods of time.
  • Dedicated equipment for cooling the machines.
  • A backup generator for longer periods of power outage.

Tier 1 data centres are simple and can be more vulnerable to unexpected outages or failures. They also have to periodically shut down completely for maintenance, making systems held there inaccessible during this time.

To certify for Tier 1 status, a data centre must have no more than 28.8 hours of downtime per year (99.7% uptime).

That may not seem like much, but for many businesses, it is crucial that their data is available at all times. If you have ever tried to navigate to a website and found it to be down for scheduled maintenance you will recognise first-hand just how frustrating those 28 hours can be.

Tier 2 data centres

Tier 2 data centres are the most common type of data centre worldwide. Most private enterprise data centres held within offices in the UK fall under tier 2.

Tier 2 data centres are facilities with greater ‘redundant capacity’. This refers to their ability to keep functioning through disruptions such as power outages or scheduled maintenance. In addition to backup generators and cooling systems, tier 2 centres can include:

  • Energy storage units such as batteries.
  • Additional cooling equipment such as cooling towers and condensers.
  • Modular components which can be removed without shutting the entire system down.

Tier 2 centres are less likely to have to shut down for maintenance. Rather, maintenance can be done on just one part of the system, while the rest continues to run. However, shutdowns may occasionally be necessary for critical infrastructure support.

Tier 3 data centres

Tier 3 data centres are likely to be the highest level of data centre most businesses will ever need. Tier 3 data centre uptime can reach 100%. Many tier 3 sites do not need to ever be shut down.

A tier 3 data centre also requires additional backup power and cooling systems compared to a tier 2 centre. Tier 3 data centres in the UK are protected from both planned maintenance and shutdowns and unexpected events such as power outages.

Tier 3 sites are best suited to businesses that take uptime seriously, and need to know that their redundant systems are fed by infrastructure that makes full and proper use of this, with power and network separation for an always-on approach to maintenance and faults.

Tier 4 data centres

While the concept of a tier 4 data centre is possible in some regions around the world, this is not actually possible in the UK, thanks to the National Grid. You need access to two electrical grid operators to meet the tier 4 requirement, which can only be achieved in areas that have access to this type of power delivery methodology (while also achieving all other requirements, of course).

Some UK-based facility operators will attempt to pass of a tier 3+ site (a tier 3 site with systems that exceed the tier 3 requirements) as a tier 4 site, however it is worth remembering that this is nothing more than misleading marketing.

In truth, a tier 4 site adds little-to-no operational advantage over a tier 3 counterpart, as having reliable generator infrastructure negates the need for diverse commercial grid access.

Multi-tier data centres

Multi tier data centres have become more common in the past ten years. This refers to data centres that support mixed levels of tier classification. 

For example, the most critical systems may make up only 10-15% of a company’s needs. These can be protected with tier 3 or 4 level standards, while other systems which are less critical to overall upkeep can be protected with less rigorous standards.

This reduces expenses on the company’s part and allows data centres to be more agile and versatile in the companies they serve.

It’s very common for top colocation service operators to deploy facilities that existing somewhere between tier 3 and tier 4, often being referred to as tier 3+ (though this is not an official classification offered by the Uptime Institute).

Choosing a data centre for your business

Data centres choose to invest in tier certification. They hire representatives from the Uptime Institute to evaluate their centre and give it an official classification.

So, if you see a data centre company has a tier rating, you can trust that they have taken every step to ensure that their capabilities can be trusted. Data centre tiers are a sign of trust between the centres, their clients, and a neutral third party.

Our data centres in Central and East London are world-class facilities with a number of accreditations and certifications. Contact us today and we will help you determine the right level of security for your needs.

How to choose the best server colocation in London

The colocation data centre market is worth over $54.8 billion. It continues to grow thanks to an increasing global reliance on technology and the related need to increase the scale of IT services in general.

Managing technology requires time, money, and effort, especially when businesses attempt to create solutions in-house. Server colocation allows you to share space with other tenants in a centralised location, which is remote from your office(s). Professionals manage the equipment and network for you, keeping it safe and providing the right environment.

What is server colocation?

Server colocation allows you to share data centre space in a centralised, remote location. It provide businesses with space to install necessary IT equipment while also preventing operation or technical limitations and allowing you to control costs, support, uptime, and security.

What a colocation data enter does

colocation centre is a physical location that stores data and IT infrastructure on behalf of businesses, and in some rarer cases, individuals. Services include power, cooling, physical security, network connectivity, and resiliency. 

These centres offer different types of services as well, allowing you to customize your size and power usage based on your needs.


Wholesale colocation is best for large corporations and service providers. Your space is separate from other tenants, which increases security. Space is sold in square feet or based on total available power, and your price depends on your power and space requirements.

Retail colocation is best for start-ups and SMEs. It provides a turnkey solution that allows you to get set up quickly by providing racks, power, PDUs, network connectivity, and IP addressing. Businesses lease space and receive power at a threshold. Your fees are based on your space allocation and power / network consumption.

Space can be sold in rack units, abbreviated as U. It measures the thickness of each server at 1.75″.

1, 2, or 4 unit colocation is abbreviated as 1U/2U/4U. It involves purchasing individual unit allocations but can be upgraded to include more space. 1U is small and considered entry-stage. The others are somewhat larger, but major businesses may require quarter, half, or full racks for housing more substantial systems.

Quarter rack location offers 10U of colocation space. Everything is stored in a private, locked cabinet. It’s a great option for small businesses and start-ups.

Half rack location is a mid-range option that offers 20U of colocation space and power feeds of 2-8 amps at 240v. It costs £299.00 – £479.00 per month. Lockable, segregated racks provide extra security. There are multiple connectivity options to fit your needs.

Full rack colocation provides a full rack or 42U of cabinet space. It offers more available power and is best for companies with larger IT systems. Multiple racks then allow these systems to be extended, with no upper limit on how many racks can be deployed as part of a single (or even split) system.

Benefits of server colocation

Businesses that aren’t using server colocation create in-house facilities instead. They provide more internal access and control but are complicated and expensive to set up, increase hiring costs, and can decrease uptime.

Colocation centres have several benefits. They increase efficiency, decrease energy consumption, are flexible and scalable, increase security, decrease downtime, and help you manage your budget more closely.

Colocation centres consider both network and physical security. They create several layers of security and threat detection to protect your network. They also monitor the location itself using CCTV and 24×7 on-site personnel.

Colocation centres offer predictable operational expenses. They offer regular fees for rack units, power, and bandwidth. Additional consulting or hardware resources may be part of your service fee or cost extra. Once you know these costs, you can find the total and work it into your budget.

A colocation centre should also be clear about what you don’t have to pay for. They can save you money in several areas, including hiring, power, and heating and cooling costs. 

Server colocation is also a way to ensure you don’t lose profits from IT services that aren’t working like you need them to. The true cost of IT downtime depends on several factors, including the duration of the outage and the number of people impacted. It costs businesses an average of approximately $5,600.00 per minute and $140,000.00 – $540,000.00 per hour.

These are only some of the benefits of server colocation. As long as you choose the right provider, you could experience even more positive changes by placing your IT equipment in the hands of professionals.

Choosing server colocation

There are over 4,740 server colocation centres throughout the world, including at least 273 in the United Kingdom. Choosing the right one from this range of options is easier when you know what to look for. Consider factors such as space, power, connectivity, security, support, and price.

Determine how much space you need by looking at your power and infrastructure requirements now and in the future.

There are several ways to ensure you get the best price. Avoid bargain discount rates because they generally indicate poor service. Look at the prices of other server colocation centres in the area. Get referrals online or from trusted friends and family. Choose the best fee structure for you, whether that’s monthly, quarterly, annually, or hourly. Consider if you need to purchase or lease equipment.

There are also some questions to ask before choosing a server colocation centre. Learn more about their:

  • Security measures
  • Reliability
  • Flexibility
  • Data capacity limits
  • Support team

You can also look online to check the provider’s reputation. Look for their uptime and security records and check their certifications and history of audit compliance.

The typical server colocation contract lasts 1 – 3 years. Be sure you’ve chosen the best provider before signing anything.

Finding the best server colocation provider

Server colocation is one of the newest and most effective alternatives to in-house IT centres. It connects you with professionals to ensure your systems are secure and stay online.

Choosing the right colocation centre is a matter of considering your current needs and how your business will grow in the future. Find an affordable, scalable option that will adapt to your changing IT structure.

Netwise provides colocation services you can trust. Contact us today to find the right solution for you.

How to handle a fast-growing business

On top of the list that all business owners want to have is growth; expected or unexpected.

With internet access meaning companies are more connected to their clients than ever, whether it be due to wise business decisions, an unforeseen upsurge in demand, or even ‘going viral’, your small business may have to face this challenge head-on at any time. For this reason, it pays to be prepared.

If you have a fast-growing business in today’s world, there’s one concern that should be on your mind more than any other. Data.

The need for small businesses to store and analyse data is more and more crucial. In fact, utilising the information that you are already storing can lead to a 15% increase in sales, so including data management in your plans is key.

Let us show you how a colocation service provider can help you when your business grows quickly.

Stay connected

An increase in demand can make or break a business, and often the first signal of an ill-prepared company is their website crashing due to sudden increased load.

By allowing this to happen, you could be seriously damaging your chances to take advantage of those all-important conversions, as there is no guarantee that potential customers will be patient enough to come back when you are back up and running. 

The core of this problem lies in a server not being able to cope with the demands placed upon it. 

The use of a colocation data centre can help in avoiding this type of problem, meaning you’ll have access to a scalable setup, prepared to handle the challenges of a sudden surge in popularity. Colocation data centres have redundant network connections, offering peace of mind that your critical systems will continue to run smoothly at all times.

Critical software applications will also run faster when deployed centrally, from a data centre. This means that your staff only need to focus on the work at hand. Should there be a need to resolve an issue, you can avoid having to unload it onto your in-house IT department, as tickets are easy to raise and can be attended to by a professional whose only focus is resolving your problem.

Data security

The integrity of your business is directly linked to how seriously you take protecting your data. Unfortunately, if you have a fast-growing business, the likelihood that you could be subject to a cyber-attack also increases, meaning that data security is essential. 

In addition to becoming a target for hackers, another key consideration is the potential loss of data. The repercussions on a fast-growing business could be staggering, with Workspace reporting that 60% of companies that lose critical data close down within six months of the disaster.

With this in mind, it’s clear that this often-overlooked area is one to pay close attention to, to ensure that your business remains profitable. 

Another danger to data security comes from not having systems in place to that allow for in house security. In most cases, a small business will permit all employees to access any data stored on their network, yet as a business grows this increases the risk of this information being compromised. 

By placing data on remote servers and carefully controlling both digital and physical access, you can ensure that employees only see what’s necessary for their jobs. Rather than this being a reflection on staff, this added layer of security provides them with protection and demonstrates to any clients – as well as auditors – that data security is at the forefront of your business.

Keep costs down  

Current success needs dynamic action if it is to be maintained. If you already have servers on-location that can handle your demands at present, there are costs involved in maintaining and potentially upgrading them. 

Doing so can result in huge expenses. Everything from temperature regulation to hiring skilled technicians all will eat into your bottom line. 

There is also the added factor of lack of office space. As a common side effect of a small business growing too fast, this can add strain on operations that can be damaging. Servers need to be stored, and with office space at a premium, it is understandable why many look to colocation centres to clear valuable space and service this need.

By using a data centre, you’re not only freeing up floor space, you also have the flexibility to expand your data storage capacity. The benefits of essentially future-proofing your business in this way cannot be overstated.

Subsequent savings can then be reinvested into your business, which can lead to an increase in revenue.

Take action now

Being able to capitalise on and maintain a fast-growing business requires a lot of hard work. For preventable issues to put any future success in jeopardy would be devastating. 

On the other hand, being prepared for any eventuality by using a colocation service provider helps attain peace of mind, allowing you to focus on what you’re already doing right.

To find out more about what we can do for you, get in touch with us today. 

Why a colocation service provider is a crucial part of your business data management

There are currently over 4,735 colocation data centres in 126 different countries. More companies are recognising the need for colocation services in properly maintaining their business operations. Otherwise, technical difficulties could cause their business to stall or even crash.

Colocation allows you to share data centre space with other companies, when housing critical IT equipment, such as servers. Installing your hardware in an offsite, well-managed data server can keep various operational and technical limitations from hurting your business. Meanwhile, you still have excellent control over costs, support, uptime and security measures.

Still on the fence about exploring a colocation service this year? Here are a few reasons you shouldn’t wait.

1. Save money

How can your company save money and boost profits this year? Colocation could definitely help. 

In order to run your business efficiently and effectively, it’s important to look at ways to control costs. It’s extremely common for businesses in all industries to need notable IT infrastructure these days, particularly given the current reliance on remote working (which is likely set to stay).

On-site infrastructure can use a lot of power. The more power needed to run you setup, the more cooling you’ll need in turn. In other words, you’ll have to consider power and cooling costs, which can quickly drain budgets.

What about your bandwidth / connectivity? You’ll need to factor that in as well, and the chances of delivering this to a suitable standard for round-the-clock uptime is unlikely.

You’ll also need to hire well-trained staff to ensure your infrastructure works as intended. 

Each one of these costs can very quickly add up. 

When you share a data centre through use of a colocation service, you’re also sharing the energy costs. Meanwhile, you won’t have to worry about hiring and training a team. Instead, you’ll have peace of mind that trained professionals are already keeping your critical equipment safe.

Look for a managed colocation service that offers everything you need. For example, you might want to consider:

  • Space
  • Power
  • Connectivity
  • Security
  • Support
  • Redundancy / resilience

Being able to flexibly chose just the services you need to the relevant specification, like your connectivity services, will help you keep costs under control. At the same time, you won’t have to stress about outages anymore. That downtime could cost you money, and clients as well. 

By switching to a colocation service, you can save money, focusing on making money instead.

2. Get more space

Access to rack and powered floor space is one of the main benefits of a colocation service. Your IT equipment is likely taking up a lot of valuable space in your office. You don’t really want to cram all of your critical equipment into a less-than-suitable room on-site, for many reasons.

If you’re hoping to expand your business, you might have to move your servers to another location, which could take valuable time. Beyond that, it’s also a stressful process. 

You can’t keep expanding your internal comms room space every time your company requirements grow.

Instead, consider an outsourced colocation service. Choosing a reputable colocation provider will give you the high-specification data centre space you need. They can also provide you with the flexibility to make changes whenever you choose.

By using a colocation centre, you can free up space in your own offices without having to worry about where your critical kit will end up.

3. 24/7 support

Does your on-site team know how to fix every problem you might encounter with your servers and other related equipment? By outsourcing to a colocation service provider, you won’t have to worry about this anymore. Instead, you’ll have expert 24/7 support available whenever you need it.

You’ll always have a team of experienced engineers to answer your questions. They can even help to improve your current setup.

Switching to a colocation data centre gives you a source of reliability, too. You won’t lose valuable time and money caused by equipment outages or downtime. Some data centres offer additional disaster recovery plans to help further prevent any possibility of downtime.  

When storing your servers on-site, you could end up with a wide range of tough-to-resolve problems. Each problem can lead to unexpected costs as well. You could have a difficult time predicting your budget.

Storing your servers off-site, however, gives you that predictability. You’ll know exactly how much you’re paying each month. 

4. Improve your security

Security issues have become a large problem in recent years. By switching to a colocation service, you can give your customers much greater peace of mind. You’ll know their private information is well-protected.

Colocation centres offer world-class security to their end customers. A provider might offer security systems like biometric scanners and coded access panels. Some offer anti-tailgating technologies as well.

What about their facilities? Many colocation buildings are guarded against tornadoes, floods, storms, fires, and other natural disasters. 

Others utilise backup generators to make sure your servers keep running, even if the power goes out.

5. Boost uptime

Downtime costs companies about $5,600 per minute. That’s over $300,000 an hour when you’re dealing with a major outage. 

Data centres are located in areas that minimise the risk of human-made and natural disasters. They make use of advanced electrical systems that can be relied on 24/7/365. By choosing a colocation service, you can reduce risks and improve uptime.

Does your company have a disaster recovery plan in place? Make a colocation service part of that plan for your business. This will help to ensure your critical systems keep running still running, before, during and after a disaster. 

6. Scalability 

Is your business prepared to grow? You’ll need to keep your IT infrastructure in mind. Otherwise, you could struggle to upsize (or downsize) based on your unique requirements.

Look for a colocation centre that offers scalable service options. They’ll help you adjust your services based on your current and future needs. That way, you’re never paying for too much space.

If you need to grow, you can scale up your plan as required. Failing this, you could struggle to provide your customers with everything they expect from your business.

Set up for success

Don’t let technical issues and server problems slow you down this year. Instead, consider making use of a colocation service. By choosing a best-in-class provider, you can set your business up for success in 2021!

Want to work with one of the UK’s leading colocation service providers? We’re here to help!

Get in touch with our team today to discover how we can help your business!

What are the differences between a data centre in London and ‘the cloud’?

The average business manages approximately 162.9 TB of data. This data includes sensitive company information such as financial data, long-term business plans, client interactions, and applications that help your business manage its daily operations. Just as important is the employee data that it stores, including banking information, national insurance numbers, and personal addresses.

Because there’s so much sensitive information that a company stores within its servers, security and confidentiality are the top priority.

Read on to learn why Cloud computing alone is insufficient and get some reasons why a data centre London location is vital for your needs.

The pros and cons of cloud storage

Many organisations have begun to eliminate on-site data storage in recent years and switch to cloud-based systems. This may seem like a good idea at first, due to the convenience of the cloud. It can be accessed from any device in any location, in addition to backing up data automatically.

Additionally, people like to use the cloud because it requires no additional hardware in the workplace. You don’t need to store or maintain physical servers on-site when everything is based on the internet.

But is the convenience worth the risk? Many experts say that cloud computing has far too many disadvantages to be a viable alternative to private storage.

Your sensitive information is always at risk when it’s in the cloud. While there are ways that you can secure your data in the cloud, it always will be vulnerable to malware and hackers by virtue of being on a public storage system. The fact that it is public storage also means that the cloud service provider will have direct access to assets containing your sensitive data, which can be a legal issue in some cases.

Data on the cloud is also only accessible with an internet connection. If your connection goes down, you won’t be able to recall any data until it comes back up again. This can impact your productivity.

What makes a data centre superior?

Luckily, data centre colocation provides you with all of the benefits of cloud storage with far fewer risks.

Colocation centres store your information off-site, in a secure facility. You also don’t need to store and secure hardware in your own premises since it will all be held at the data centre.

Maintenance of hardware will also be handled by our professionals. You don’t need to worry about getting it upgraded or replacing broken equipment. Our experts will take care of the nuts and bolts for you so that you can focus on your core business.


As touched upon before, colocation is a secure, robust alternative to cloud computing. Not only will all of your information be under virtual lock and key so unauthorised users can’t access it, but the hardware that it’s stored on will also be under physical lock and key.

Individual attention

Cloud computing services often have unreliable customer service. Many of the large cloud service providers offer purely unmanaged services, meaning all setup and ongoing operational responsibilities will fall to the user. The business is in full control of their data, and if a problem occurs, they’re left to fix it on their own. Third party management and consultancy services can be extremely expensive.

As you can imagine, this is extremely problematic for many users. They aren’t equipped to deal with problems that may emerge and therefore are more likely to lose data (or have it stolen). They wind up leaving it susceptible to malware by mistake or find themselves locked out of their system with no real customer support to fall back on.

London data centres are committed to being there to help you secure and access your critical systems. Support enquiries are responded to promptly. Tickets and phone calls allow for immediate assistance from one of our expert representatives, ensuring you have access to all that you need.

Fully managed services

Finally, London data centres can fully manage your systems for you if required. System updates will be automatically installed and supervised by professionals. You don’t need to worry about backups and maintenance in-house; the services that you outsource will take care of everything for you.

Service continuity is a priority at our data centres. If one system goes down, another can be ready and waiting to take its place, providing you with guaranteed 24-hour access to your information.

Learn more about our London data centres

Now you know why making use of a data centre in London is superior to storing all of your data on the cloud, it’s time to get started.

Contact us to learn more about what our data centre can do for you. Our experts are happy to discuss the ways that we are committed to keeping your data secure and can book a tour of our locations with you. We look forward to discussing your requirements with you soon!