Microsoft is discussing plans to build a data center in Irkutsk, one of the largest cities in Siberia. The facility will be able to hold 10,000 servers, according to Birger Steen, the head of Microsoft's Russian and CIS business unit. The discussions were outlined in a press briefing Friday and reported by Russian news outlets Kommersant and Cnews.
The project appears to be smaller in scope than recently announced Microsoft data center projects in Dublin, Ireland and the Chicago area, and no budget was announced (although some Russian media sources cited the $500 million number for the other projects). No specific site has been selected yet, but Microsoft is said to be considering locations in between Irkutsk and Angarsk, two cities north of Lake Baikal in southern Siberia.
UPDATE: We have received an additional statement from Microsoft: "The Memorandum of Understanding signed with the Irkutsk regional government aimed to expand IT use in the government sector and launch several training programs locally," said Evgeny Danilov, Microsoft Russia PR director. "A data center was one of the topics of negotiation with the Irkutsk regional administration, where the parties agreed to continue discussions later. Though Microsoft Russia is working on potential data centre construction in Russia, we are still far from final site selection."
Siberia is best known for its rough winters, and the average temperature in Irkutsk is below zero from December through early March, with constant snow cover for most of the winter.
The data center could have connectivity from a Transtelecom fiber line, and have power capacity of 50 megawatts, according to Irkutsk region governor Andrei Gubov. The region was attractive to Microsoft due to its stable power supply, said Sten, who added that there has never been a data center project of this scope in Russia. No timetable was given for completion of the project.