Microsoft massively expands its data centres for Windows 8


Microsoft is investing $150 million to expand its new data center in southern Virginia and will build a second data center facility and add 21 megawatts of power capacity at its new location in Boydton, Virginia, even as it is still completing the $499 million first phase of the project.

Microsoft is also believed to be expanding its data centers in West Des Moines, Iowa and Dublin, Ireland.

Microsoft’s new facility will feature the use of its container-based design known as IT-PAC (short for Pre-Assembled Component). They are designed to operate in all environments, and employ a free cooling approach in which fresh air is drawn into the enclosure through louvers in the side of the container – which effectively functions as a huge air handler with racks of servers inside.

“Microsoft is excited to once again expand its cloud infrastructure and services capacities in Boydton,” said Dayne Sampson, corporate vice president, Microsoft’s Global Foundation Services group. “We greatly appreciate the work that Virginia’s Governor and local officials have done to make the Commonwealth a great place for Microsoft to continue to invest in to enable the best possible delivery of services to our current and future customers.”

Microsoft has been operating a pair of data centers in northern Virginia, where it has been one of the largest tenants in data centers operated by DuPont Fabros Technology (DFT). The company recently indicated it will renew its leases for those sites.

Microsoft’s recent moves to expand in multiple sites suggests it will need more data center space sooner rather than later.

“Considering this economic climate the new announcement by Microsoft is astounding,” said Glenn Barbour, Chairman of the Mecklenburg County Board of Supervisors.

The likeliest explanation is the cloud services built into Windows 8 and an expansion of its Azure platform.

Windows 8 will feature automatic synchronization of user profiles, which includes application settings and data between devices and to the cloud, and Microsoft of course expect to sell hundreds of millions of copies of the new OS next year. There have also been rumours of unlimited storage of documents and photos on Skydrive. 

With Windows 8 so tightly integrated with the cloud I am sure the new capacity will not be wasted.

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