More on Microsoft's Radical Data Center Design

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When Microsoft unveiled its Generation 4 Modular Data Center design yesterday, I was reminded of the company’s earlier comments about its planned $500 million data center project in West Des Moines, Iowa. When the project was announced back in August, Microsoft General Manager of Data Center Services Mike Manos said the facility’s design would break new ground.

“We believe it will be significantly different than anything that has come before,” Manos said of the design plans for West Des Moines. “We are not willing to share specifics just yet, other than the fact that this will represent the combined learning, research, and engineering we have come up with over the course of the program.”

That sure sounds a lot like the Generation 4 design, which features data center containers, modular power and cooling components, no roof and no chillers. Manos said the Generation 4 design improvements “have been in initial development and prototyping for over a year and are based on cumulative knowledge of previous facility generations and the advances we have made since we began our investments in earnest on this new design.”

Will West Des Moines be the first site built with the Generation 4 design? Microsoft’s not confirming or denying, exactly. “Modular data centers represent Microsoft’s vision for the future of the industry in the next five years but do not impact current data centers at this time,” said a Microsoft spokesperson.

About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor-in-chief 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.

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