Microsoft will build a new cloud data center near Cheyenne, Wyoming, with an initial expected investment of at least $112 million. The announcement continues a building boom for Microsoft, which in the last year has announced expansions of its data centers in Virginia, Washington state and Dublin.
The Microsoft project is the biggest data center win to date for Wyoming, which is home to several significant data centers near Cheyenne, including one for Echostar and the NICAR supercomputer project.
"We've got some great momentum (in the data center sector), and this just adds to it." said Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead. “I believe Wyoming is positioned to be a leader in the technology sector and data centers will be a catalyst for growth. Wyoming is a perfect fit for data centers. We have abundant, affordable energy. Our naturally cool climate decreases costs for data centers and we have redundant fiber optics."
The Microsoft project had used the code name Project Summit and was said to have narrowed its choice between the Cheyenne area and another Mountain West location.
“Microsoft is excited to once again expand its cloud infrastructure and services capacities for our customers in Wyoming and the region,” said Christian Belady, general manager of Data Center Services in Microsoft’s Global Foundation Services’ group. “We greatly appreciate the work that the Governor, the economic development team, and local officials in Cheyenne and Laramie County have done to make Wyoming a smart place for Microsoft to do business. This new data center will enable the best possible delivery of services to our current and future customers. My team and I look forward to engaging in the deployment of our latest data center solution in Cheyenne.”
Wyoming officials did not identify the exact location of the data center, saying Microsoft preferred not to disclose the site. Microsoft has already purchased the land for the facility. The project will have a "very aggressive" schedule, with construction beginning this summer, local officials said.
The project was described as a large cloud data center, but not a "mega data center," suggesting that it may not be as large as some other Microsoft data centers that clearly meet that criteria.
Microsoft will build the data center in phases and eventually employ approximately 40 people. The first phase will result in the creation of 17 new jobs with median wages that are 150% above the county’s average wage and Microsoft expects to have the facility operational in the spring of 2013.
Wyoming economic development agencies are offering nearly $11 million in incentives to attract Microsoft, including $5 million from the Governor's office, $5 million in county infrastructure funds, and $750,000 in workforce training.
Gov. Mead thanked staff from Cheyenne LEADS and the Wyoming Business Council who worked with Microsoft and its location scouts. “This is a competitive process and Wyoming must continue to ensure it is positioned to attract more data centers and technology companies," Mead said. "Our people, including those at the Business Council and LEADS, are an asset in Wyoming’s efforts."
“We are very pleased to welcome Microsoft to our community. We believe they will be great community partners and will find Cheyenne a wonderful place in which to thrive and expand,” Randy Bruns the CEO of the Cheyenne LEADS said. “I believe that this announcement, once again, illustrates how important it is to have property available and ready for economic development.”