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US telco giant CenturyLink will become the first company to have its entire portfolio of data centers evaluated by the Uptime Institute in an effort to achieve its Management & Operations (M&O) certification. The Uptime Institute made the announcement earlier this week, noting that CenturyLink has “pledged its commitment to data center operational excellence.”

CenturyLink said it plans on pursuing the certification, also known as the “M&O Stamp of Approval”, for all 57 of the data centers it operates worldwide.

“This commitment shows that CenturyLink has the confidence to be open and transparent about its industry-recognized data center facilities, operations and management”, said Lee Kirby, CTO of the Uptime Institute, in a statement. “By adopting an industry standard for existing operations, CenturyLink assures its clients that retirement, turnover, and contractor selection will not disrupt the fundamentals of the operations — and that availability levels remain steady. We applaud CenturyLink for volunteering for a level of scrutiny that no other company has undertaken at this scale, which inherently challenges others in the marketplace to reveal themselves as openly.”

Operations-related failures are the primary cause of data center outages, according to the Uptime Institute. The independent research and certification body said its claim is based on analyzing 20 years’ worth of data center outages, and that its M&O Stamp of Approval “is an outcome-based guideline that centers on operational excellence”, designed to address the reasons why failures occur instead of being a list of best practices.

“We view Uptime Institute as the preeminent global authority on data center standards and believe that businesses should hold their data center providers to high standards for operational excellence,” said David Meredith, senior VP at CenturyLink. “A data center’s design is a strong foundation, but keeping businesses running 24/7 requires solid processes and highly qualified staff.”

The Uptime Institute’s M&O Stamp of Approval provides independent certification that a data center’s on-site management “satisfies industry-recognized criteria for 24 x 7 uptime.” Sites seeking the M&O Stamp of Approval are subjected to on-site evaluations to determine whether it meets the M&O criteria. The program’s criteria were drawn from the Uptime Institute's Tier Standard: Operational Sustainability. The M&O Approved designation is valid for two years, at which time the certified site must submit to an accelerated re-certification process.

Twenty nine data centers worldwide have achieved the M&O Stamp of Approval since the certification was first offered. The addition of CenturyLink’s 57 data centers – once all are certified – will nearly double the size of the program.