CNET News Video
Peering inside Microsoft's giant data centerCNET's Ina Fried speaks to two of the designers of Microsoft's just-opened data center in Chicago.
>> Ina: I'm Ina Fried with CNET News. I'm here in Chicago where Microsoft has just opened one of their new massive data centers. Joining me are Christian Belloti [assumed spelling] the Principle Infrastructure Architect for Microsoft Data Center Group and Dan Costello who's the Director of Data Center Research. Obviously we've got to see a lot here and yet in some senses you see very little. It looks like a parking lot with a few leftover dumpsters, but that's actually a good thing why is that? >> If you look at the material usage in a container based deployment versus a traditional closed dramatically induced. What we've done is we created the set of spines that we interconnect the power and water to. >> And that produces the upfront infrastructure that's required in the Data Center significantly saving costs and saving materials upfront in the Data Center. >> Ina: So really in a sense what's notable when you walk through this facility is actually what you don't see. So you don't see big bundles of cable, you don't see as many fans and air conditioners, so basically stuff that's not directly powering the server you see less of it. >> Yes, it's embedded into the IT infrastructure and into the containers themselves. And in doing so increases not just the material usage in the upfront costs -- decreases the costs but also increases the efficiency. And if you look at the power usage effectiveness in the containery [assumed spelling] systems it's a lot more energy efficient, about 50% than a traditional data center. >> It also allows us to deploy very quickly, right? That's one of the big advantages is everything is already pre-wired, hidden and in a module. Bring it in there's really nothing in terms of connection other than a data connection, water connection and a power connection. >> Ina: And that's -- I was gonna get to that that, basically, when you want to expand here you back in a container, unload it from the truck and 8 hours later it's up and running is that right? >> Yeah, in less than a day. And as we do more and more of them it's becoming shorter and shorter and shorter and we're already looking at ways how can we even do it to, you know, on the order of minutes in the future. >> We're learning in this process as well and we're down to about 2 hours for an install and about 7 hours for a complete connection to go live. We can do 2 a day at the moment, which is exciting. And the other point around the materials itself is that these containers come with all the servers and IT equipment stocked so there's no packaging materials that you would normally see in the delivery of multiple racks, 10's of 20's of racks that will go into a container, so that saves a lot of packaging material as well. >> Ina: So normally in a traditional data center when you get that new server it's just like when I order a new PC off the Internet it comes in a bunch of Styrofoam and then I got to figure out what to do with it. >> That's exactly right. >> Ina: So -- >> You could argue but if you look at 2,000 containers just think about how many boxes or 2,000 servers how many boxes does that add up to, and so none of that is there now. >> Ina: What are the big downsides, if any, of this approach? What gets hard when you bring in your servers by the container? >> I think it's the scale, number 1. Not a lot of companies are rolling out 2,000 servers at a time. I think number 2 is [inaudible] that's in our data centers today. We would like to get to the point where we could [inaudible] our order monitor based container servers and fill out the servers over time and not necessarily have it full. And there's a tradeoff with that though and that's efficiency and optimization. You build a data center today to be flexible to [inaudible] a wide range of temperature, humidity, electrical specs and a wide range of equipment. A container's built today -- it's very optimized to the systems that go in it and that helps to make it more and energy and material efficient. So that tradeoff is something that needs to be considered between a traditional [inaudible] container. ^M00:03:46 [ Music ]