The Data Centre Alliance has launched an independently audited data centre certification programme designed to re-assure customers of hosted data centre services about the business continuity of their data and applications.

The DCA Data Centre Certification programme has been developed by the alliance’s members, an international collaboration between data centre operators, customers, suppliers, academics and professional individuals.

DCA executive director Simon Campbell-Whyte said: "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."

Campbell-Whyte said that the certification had "harmonised the many guidelines and standards" already available and was offering an "independently auditable benchmark that any data centre, anywhere in the world, can be equally tested and certified against".

Certification covers power resilience, connectivity & cabling resilience, environmental control resilience, operations and maintenance processes and "professionalism", physical site access and energy efficiency strategies.

Although the DCA will be the certifying authority, it will not be undertaking the audits itself. Instead, a range of DCA approved auditing companies will undertake the work.

In order to keep their certification status data centres will have to undergo a re-audit every two years and an annual "DCA surveillance check", since, the DCA said, it has been found many design-based certifications already obtained bear very little relation to the data centre after a few months or years of live operation.

Independent approved auditors for the scheme currently include PTS Consulting, CST Technology, Future Tech and Cerios.