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Buyout could boost Uptime Institute

The 451 Group acquisition could reinvigorate the data center consulting think tank.

The 451 Group, the parent company of IT consultancy 451 Research and hosting/colocation research firm Tier1 Research, today purchased data center facilities consulting think-tank, the Uptime Institute.

For more on the Uptime Institute:
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Best known for its development of the Uptime Tier Rating system, the Uptime Institiute has been the dominant voice in the IT industry for data center facilities issues. Uptime has pushed its member companies – some of the largest IT organizations in the world – to operate more energy-efficient, reliable data centers. Uptime has done so with solid engineering advice and by providing data center operations teams with the language and data to bring facilities issues to C-level execs.

But in recent years, Uptime has struggled, facing criticism about its ubiquitous Tier System from industry heavyweights suc as Mike Manos of Digital Realty Trust, and fighting turf-wars with the Green Grid over naming conventions for energy-efficiency metrics. Most recently Uptime fell prey to layoffs of administrative staff following the 2009 Symposium last April.

A new lease on life 
But the 451 Group's acquisition may breathe new life into the Uptime Institute. Joining forces may provide the increased organizational support and investment to help Uptime execute its goals, which include keeping the tiers relevant, and making use of its massive data center facilities database: 15 years of IT equipment benchmarking and abnormal incident data from its member companies.

I'm hopeful that the Uptime model will change for the better.
A data center manager,

Speaking anonymously, a data center manager at a large company and a member of the Uptime Network said he was initially surprised and concerned by the news, but he's hopeful about the future.

"Mainly there are concerns about what will be done with the Uptime Network's data, the data [the Network] submitted over the past 15 years," he said.

But after 451 Group CEO Martin McCarthy spoke to Network members, he seems to have allayed these concerns. "I think he came across with honesty of purpose. I heard no additional squabbling from the membership after that.

"I'm hopeful that the Uptime model will change for the better.," the data center manager said. "The website drastically needs revamping so that our Network data can be searched for useful equipment data, best practices. It's my belief that [Uptime Founder Ken Brill] originally wanted it to be sort of a Consumer Reports for the data center user industry. The data is sort of there but cannot be mined easily. The 451 Group could certainly try and fix this," he said.

Julian Kudritzki, the Uptime Institute's VP of Operations, looks forward to the acquisition. "Our new CEO recognizes the value of our technical staff and is giving them the appropriate resources," Kudritzki said. "I think you'll see enhancements we've talked about for years coming to fruition sooner."

Kudritzki said the acquisition does not affect the delivery of Uptime Institute Professional Services or the Site Uptime Network. The Uptime Institute will be a standalone entity within the 451 Group.

CEO McCarthy appointed Pitt Turner as the executive director of the Uptime Institute. Turner previously headed Computer Site Engineering-Uptime Professional Services – Uptime's consulting arm. Uptime's founder Ken Brill will step back from management responsibilities and take on a global spokesman role. "I have the highest regard for Ken Brill, the man is a visionary. He was there early, and he was right," McCarthy said.

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