Iowa chosen for next Microsoft data center

Software maker will build its fourth U.S. data center in West Des Moines, which is also the hometown of Olympic gold medal-winning gymnast Shawn Johnson.

Ina Fried Former Staff writer, CNET News
During her years at CNET News, Ina Fried changed beats several times, changed genders once, and covered both of the Pirates of Silicon Valley.
Ina Fried
2 min read

Updated 1:25 p.m. PDT with more details and a photo of an aerial view of the site. Also updated at 3:37 p.m. PDT with confirmation on the container approach.

The Iowa city of West Des Moines now has two things to celebrate.

The same week that hometown hero Shawn Johnson captured gold on the balance beam, the city has learned that a bunch of new jobs are headed its way.

Microsoft announced on Thursday that it has picked the city as the site for its latest massive data center.

I reported earlier this week that the company was close to announcing where it would build its next facility. Apparently, they were very close.

"We are very proud to welcome Microsoft to Iowa," said Gov. Chet Culver said in a statement Thursday. "In making its decision, Microsoft recognized what we in Iowa have known all along: our workforce and quality of life is top-notch."

The company expects to add about 50 jobs initially. Microsoft didn't go into a lot of detail about why Iowa was chosen over other sites, saying in a statement simply that it met its criteria for such facilities--factors that include cheap power and access to high-bandwidth networking. Nor is the company saying much about its plans for the site.

Microsoft declined to say whether the site will be equipped with traditional server racks or use the container approach I wrote about earlier this week. (Update: Late on Thursday, Microsoft confirmed that it will use the container approach.)

The site will be the company's fourth large-scale data center. A facility in Quincy, Wash., opened in April, while centers in San Antonio and Chicago are due to open later this year.

aerial view
Here is an aerial view of the site in West Des Moines, Iowa, where Microsoft plans to put its latest massive data center. Microsoft