Microsoft's Next-Generation Data Centers

Microsoft is constantly refining the design and operations of its data centers to make them as efficient as possible. With this week's unveiling of the company's newest project in Washington state, the Microsoft Global Foundation Services team has released new videos of slideshow presentations about its three newest data center projects - the modular design in Quincy, Washington, a huge chiller-less facility in Dublin, Ireland and the world's largest container data center in Chicago. The videos tell an interesting story about the evolution of Microsoft's data center designs to adapt to different climates and technologies.

Microsoft's Modular Data Center - Quincy, Washington Facility Overview

Microsoft's expansion in Quincy leverages the flexibility of PACs (pre-assembled components) throughout the entire facility. The data center, slated to open early this year, uses these modular "building blocks" for electrical, mechanical, server and security subsystems. The benefits of this approach include: increasing flexibility and right-sizing; using plug-n-play infrastructure, replicating the supply chain and allowing quick turnaround to market. The modular design enables Microsoft to build a facility in significantly less time, while reducing capital costs by an average of 50 to 60 percent over the lifetime of the project.

For more Data Center Knowledge coverage of the Quincy campus, check out Microsoft's High-tech Modular Tractor Shed and Inside Microsoft's New Quincy Cloud Farm

Microsoft Air-Cooled Center in Dublin - Opened Sept. 2009

The data center in Dublin is the first Microsoft mega-center outside the U.S. at 303,000 SF and still growing. Also, there has been an emphasis on its environmental impact and reducing the use of power and water. The Dublin data center operates without chillers, helping Microsoft record a 50 percent improvement in Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE), a key measure of energy efficiency.

Data Center Knowledge coverage of the Irish datacenter: Microsoft Confirms Dublin Datacenter Plans, Microsoft's Chiller-Less Data Center and Inside Microsoft's Dublin Mega Datacenter.

Microsoft Chicago - World's Largest Container Facility - Opened July 2009

Dubbed "the mother of all data centers," this 700,000 SF modular facility claims the title of world's largest container data center. It houses 200-plus sites and services in the Microsoft brand family such as gaming services of Xbox Live and the cloud services of Windows Azure. The facility uses new design solutions which have led to greater efficiencies and carbon waste reductions. Also, Microsoft reports significant reduction in water and material usage enabled by the deployment of modular units and IT innovations. It has also won the Green Enterprise IT Award from Uptime Institute.

Data Center Knowledge coverage: Microsoft Says Chicago Project Moving Ahead and Inside Microsoft's Chicago Data Center

Animation of IT PAC

This animation shows the development of Microsoft's IT PAC, or pre-fab containers, which are units that are pre-assembled components of the IT, mechanical and electrical systems. These units, which are being used the new Quincy site, function as an air handler that houses servers. The video includes an airflow animation that showcases how the design has advanced beyond the closed shipping containers seen in the initial Chicago deployments.