CenturyLink seeks Uptime Institute's M&O certification for 57 data centers

CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL) is looking to enhance its standing in the data center market by having its 57 global data centers evaluated by the Uptime Institute for Management and Operations (M&O) certification, an element that could become a key requirement for enterprises looking to outsource storage and other functions to a data center provider partner.

Based on analyzing the root cause of 20 years of outages in high-performance data centers, the M&O stamp of approval is an outcome-based guideline that centers on operational excellence. Unlike a "best practices" approach that's largely subjective, the M&O process examines why data centers fail and how to minimize, or even eliminate, errors.

"This is a way to take what the Uptime Institute is doing, which is setting the standard for the industry," said David Meredith, senior vice president at CenturyLink, in an interview with FierceTelecom. "You have to have an independent third party come in to do this and saying we already think this is a strength, but Uptime will come in and make sure everything is just right in order to get the certification."

Meredith added that while gaining the certification is important to CenturyLink, it will also become a benchmark for the overall colocation services industry segment.

"You're going to see a lot of RFPs looking for data centers that say are you certified for M&O," Meredith said.  

Uptime Institute said that the leading cause of data center failures is operations related, adding that a legacy data center could out-perform a poorly run data center featuring a more robust or modern design.

"We're very pleased with this commitment from CenturyLink, which is impressive in that poor facilities management is a dirty secret for our industry," said Matt Stansberry, the Uptime Institute director of content and program director for Uptime Institute Symposium. "You may have an organization that might be able to ascertain whether or not it's a robust design, but very few organizations have the capability to assess that facilities management program to run that design to its fullest potential is actually in place."

Besides committing to M&O stamp of approval across its portfolio, CenturyLink has also received several Tier Certifications from Uptime Institute for recent data center build projects in the U.S., Canada and Hong Kong.

"When you think about 100 percent uptime across all our 57 data centers in multiple countries, you have to have a robust set of processes and make sure you're following those processes even if you got a great facility," Meredith said. "No one has set a consistent standard that people can go and follow and it's commendable for the Uptime Institute to go and do that and that's why we're jumping in with both feet."

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