Gates: We’ll Have ‘Many Millions’ of Servers

In his keynote this morning at TechEd 2008, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates spoke about Microsoft’s data center growth, predicting that the company will soon have “many millions of servers” to power its online services. Gates described Microsoft’s “mega data centers” as providing an advantage in the current cloud-building arms race, saying that “Microsoft and only a few others” will be able to build these facilities.

The shift of services to the cloud “is getting us to think about data centers on a scale we never have before,” said Gates. “Today in our data centers we have literally hundreds of thousands of servers. In the future, we’ll have many millions of those servers.”

Gates comments about Microsoft’s data center operations were part of a much longer keynote presentation to more than 5,000 developers at Microsoft’s TechEd North America 2008 Developers conference in Orlando, Florida.

The Microsoft chairman said the larger scale of the company’s new data centers provides the opportunity for innovation. “When you think about design, you can be very radical and come up with some huge improvements as you design for this kind of scale,” Gates said.

Here’s some of our recent coverage of Microsoft (MSFT) and its data center projects and innovations:

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About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor at large of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.


  1. Jim

    And they can all be replaced by a half-dozen Red Hat boxes... Da bum bum, but seriously folks... I see these numbers thrown out often on this blog, and I do start to wonder if the reason they need so many is because they run Windows as opposed to some other OS. I ask this not to fan the flames of Microsoft vs. Linux, but from an energy-conservation point of view. I'd love to see some legit exploration of this topic.

  2. Jim, Without getting into the fanboy wars on this one, I think its pretty typical at cloud scale. I seriously doubt that Google uses much Microsoft O/S in their deployments, and they are rumored to have twice the infrastructure that Microsoft does. I dont think its an O/S thing.

  3. Jeff

    If Linux (or any other OS) were drastically more efficient than Windows for the purposes they need, the switch would be a no-brainer, even for Microsoft. We are talking about *millions* of servers, at a likely total cost in the hundreds of billions. If there was some other hypothetical platform that could get the job done in half the time, say $50 billion in infrastructure instead of $100 billion, they couldn't possibly ignore it. It's been my experience that the OS is efficient as the person implementing it, and if they are choosing to use Windows Server for all those computers, there is a darn good reason.