Pioneering the TIER 0™ data center – the next-gen solution for high-performance computing

Network servers with connections in an abstract futuristic environment

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As data continues to permeate a growing share of the global infrastructure, the use of and need for capable data centers has grown, as well. Data centers allow us to harness and deploy valuable information across a complete range of industries and applications.

But the use of traditional data centers is now only effective in leveraging “traditional” data. More advanced applications are beginning to require something more in order to unlock their true potential.

In this post, we’ll break down the distinctions between traditional data center tiers and introduce a new solution that is providing an alternate, cost-effective gamechanger for modern computing.

View Compute Norths TIER 0™ data centers today!

Data center Tiers 1-4

The existing data center tier system was developed by the Uptime Institute to describe data center infrastructure in a consistent way, indicating the quality and reliability of a given center’s server hosting ability.

Tier 1 is generally considered the “simplest” iteration – a way to achieve a tactical level of operational sustainability. Tier 4 is considered the most complex with the most redundant components – a strategic implementation for missioncritical applications and systems. Keep in mind that a higher tier doesn’t always mean a better tier – it’s all about finding the solution that will best align with the unique needs of your operation.

Tier 1 Tier 2 Tier 3 Tier 4

Dedicated Infrastructure

  • Single cooling and power path
  • No redundancy

Redundant Infrastructure

  • Single cooling and power path
  • Some redundancy in cooling/power systems

Fully Fault-Tolerant Infrastructure

  • Multiple cooling and power paths
  • Fault-tolerant (N + 1)

Fully Fault-Tolerant Infrastructure

  • Two independent utility paths
  • Fully redundant (2N + 1)

Key Components

UPS modules, cooling equipment, power generators

UPS modules, chillers, pumps, power generators

UPS modules, chillers, pumps, power generators (more extensive deployment)

UPS modules, chillers, pumps, power generators (most extensive deployment)







Increased redundancy allows for maximum uptime and for planned maintenance to take place without disrupting the operation of hardware within the data center. And while this tier system has become the established norm within the industry, it’s proving to no longer be enough for many more ambitious efforts.

As worldwide data and computing requirements have continued to grow, many advanced applications ranging from Artificial Intelligence and machine learning to image rendering and IoT don’t require such hyper-scale redundancy or uptime.

What they do require is vast amounts of power and denser racking requirements that traditional data centers can’t cost-effectively provide.

The challenge with traditional data centers

The typical data center is a relatively simple concept originally intended to solve basic data problems, like how to serve a single webpage or file. The issue today is that businesses aren’t using data in the same way as 20 or even 10 years ago.

Modern businesses are now using data to fine-tune nearly every aspect of their operation, from how they target consumers to how they optimize manufacturing processes and waste reduction. Being able to effectively leverage data in the modern landscape represents a true competitive advantage for these enterprises.

High-performance computing (HPC) machines (which are used for these types of applications) have different requirements, and based on how traditional data centers are designed and constructed, adapting facilities to accommodate HPC can be challenging. Even with the right racking and density, many facilities are challenged to deliver the right power needed.

To do so properly, they require a new solution.

The TIER 0™ data center

TIER 0™ is an innovative concept pioneered by Compute North that represents the next generation of data centers. The objective is to provide organizations with an alternative to the more expensive, more traditional solutions available today – an alternative that is lower-cost and faster-to-scale.

Here’s how:

  • Low cost to build – Where traditional data centers require a large buildout that is budget-exhaustive, TIER 0™ data centers make use of modular containers that are exponentially less expensive. These centers also utilize limited cooling systems and dense racking procedures for increased capacity.
  • Low cost to operateBuilding data centers near the power source facilitates use of stranded power and a mix of power sources. This access to low-cost energy combined with the ease-of-maintenance of TIER 0™ data centers results in a reduced operating cost compared to their Tier 4 counterparts. Limited staff required to support each location keeps overhead costs lower, as well.
  • Speed to build and scale – Because TIER 0™ data centers make use of a modular structure, containers can be ordered, customized, and delivered quickly, allowing infrastructure to be up and running within 90 days compared to the typical 18month-plus timeline of traditional data centers.

This combination of features makes TIER 0™ data centers a great fit for organizations that don’t need >99% uptime and allows them to be more strategic with their colocation plan. As noted, TIER 0™ facilities offer an ideal solution for non-mission critical applications such as cryptocurrency mining, blockchain, image rendering, machine learning, and other edge computing applications where redundancy is built in and latency is not a key driver.

With market adoption for these types of applications growing rapidly, we are seeing it drive change in every arena from finance and real estate to health care and elections and beyond. The implementation of low-cost, high-power data centers is providing additional resources to further this change.

Key things to assess when considering a TIER 0™ data center environment for your organization include:

  1. Is your application missioncritical or can you tolerate some interruption? (For example, are you running learning models or mining cryptocurrency and able to tolerate some downtime or are you hosting an ecommerce system that requires maximum uptime?)
  2. What types of hardware are you planning to use?
  3. Will you need room to grow?
  4. What are your power requirements and as such, is cost of power a concern?

Step into the next generation of data with Compute North

Compute North owns and operates state-of-the-art TIER 0™ data centers designed specifically to make the most of blockchain technology, with the ability to adapt to market demands, recognizing there are many applications being designed that don’t require maximum uptime and hyper-scale redundancy.

Each campus is constructed in a strategic location in the U.S. to allow users to focus solely on ROI and less on logistics. With years of colocation experience, we have best-in-class solutions designed to help you maximize business operations.

Benefits of our services include:

  • Cost-competitive infrastructure powered by renewable energy
  • Secure environment to keep your hardware and your data safe
  • Core infrastructure with power, space, ambient air cooling, internet access, physical racks and security
  • And more

Contact us today to learn more.

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