Microsoft has no comment on reports that the company is planning an expansion of its huge data center in Dublin, Ireland, which serves as the central hub supporting its cloud computing services across Europe.
The Sunday Business Post reported that Microsoft "is planning a multi-million Euro investment in an expansion of its $500 million data center in Dublin." The paper said plans call for building a 120,000 square foot single-story data center alongside the existing 303,000 square foot facility.
Planned as a Two-Phase Project
Microsoft said it had no comment or new information on its plans for the Dublin site. But the company has previously indicated that the facility would be built out in two phases. Microsoft built a 550,000 square foot structure in Dublin, with 303,000 square feet of data center and mechanical/electrical space entering production on July 1, 2009. At the time, Microsoft indicated that it would complete the remainder of the data center at a later date.
An aerial photo of the facility (see above) shows that only half of the space on the roof contains air handlers that drive the cooling system for the Microsoft Dublin data center. These units take outside air and draw it into the data center for use in the air conditioning system. This practice, known as “free cooling” or air-side economization, allows facility owners to dramatically reduce the amount of energy used in cooling.
New Structure, or More Servers in the Same Building?
The chief question about an expansion in Dublin is whether Microsoft would build out additional space inside the existing structure using a design similar to the first phase of the Dublin facility, or build a new lightweight structure along the lines of its latest data center in Quincy, Washington, which was built around data center containers that come packed with up to 2,000 servers.
The difference could be meaningful for the local economy in Dublin, as a new structure would likely mean more construction work than an additional build-out of the interior of the existing structure.