Microsoft puts data centers on wheels

The company extends its building block approach for quickly assembling modular data centers.

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

Microsoft is taking its container approach to data centers a step further, making the building housing the data center itself a module.

<a href="http://video.msn.com/video.aspx?vid=b4d189d3-19bd-42b3-85d7-6ca46d97fe40" target="_new" title="Microsoft Generation 4.0 Data Center Vision" rel="nofollow">Video: Microsoft Generation 4.0 Data Center Vision</a>

In a blog posting on Tuesday, Microsoft detailed what the "generation four" data centers will look like.

"This is a significant step forward, and one that Microsoft believes will reshape how companies build data centers and support cloud computing," a Microsoft representative said in a statement.

The generation four concept "builds on the innovation at Microsoft's Chicago data center, which houses shipping containers packed with up to 2,500 servers each," the representative said. "A container facility helps ensure that we don't overbuild server capacity, while allowing the company to reduce the time to build a data center from 24 to 12 months."

The new approach goes a step further, building the center itself out of prefabricated mechanical, electrical, and security components, as well as the containerized servers. Such facilities can be deployed in just three to six months and expanded when demand grows.

Microsoft says the new approach will cut capital costs by 20 percent to 40 percent.

"In short, we are striving to bring Henry Ford's Model T factory to the data center," Microsoft's Mike Manos said in the blog posting. "We intend to have our components built in factories and then assemble them in one location (the data center site) very quickly. Think about how a computer, car or plane is built today."

For those that are in to data centers, check out the blog. it goes into just a ton of detail. I've also embedded a video that Microsoft did.

Meanwhile, I'm working on some separate posts for this week on some of the vendors that are powering Microsoft's efforts.