Microsoft Chicago: Side-Aisle Container

More than 2,000 servers can fit inside a container, with the tight space allowing for granular control of airflow and cooling. The density is ideal for providing scalability for the Microsoft Live online services powered by the Chicago facility.

More than 2,000 servers can fit inside a container, with the tight space allowing for granular control of airflow and cooling. The density is ideal for providing scalability for the Microsoft Live online services powered by the Chicago facility.

Other containers used in Microsoft’s new Chicago facility feature a “side aisle” configuration, with a single row of densely packed servers. In addition to flexibility in the IT gear inside the box, Microsoft’s approach also works with cooling equipment residing in the same container as the servers or in a separate unit.

“We publish an RFP (Request for Proposal) spec, and vendors can do single stack or double stack,” explained Sean Farney, Microsoft’s data center manager for the Chicago facility. The containers come pre-populated with servers and support equipment, eliminating the need to unpack and install 2,000 servers.

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