Microsoft Plans Roofless Data Centers - InformationWeek
IoT
IoT
Cloud // Cloud Storage
News
12/3/2008
03:54 PM
Connect Directly
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Microsoft Plans Roofless Data Centers

The new architecture called "Generation 4 Modular Data Center," or Gen 4 for short, takes its cues from Microsoft's mega-data center in Chicago.




Microsoft's Chicago data center.
(click for image gallery)

Microsoft's already pushing the limits of database scalability with its shipping-container-based mega-data center in Chicago, but it wants to take things a step further.

As it invests more and more in cloud computing and software as a service, Microsoft is spending billions to build new data centers around the world. Getting the costs of building those data centers down and their scalability and flexibility up is task No. 1 for Mike Manos, the company's general manager for data center services, and his team.

The plan, Manos wrote in a blog post Tuesday, is to commoditize the build-out of Microsoft's data centers, assembling data center components on-site.

"Think about how a computer, car, or plane is built today. Components are manufactured by different companies all over the world to a predefined spec and then integrated in one location based on demands and feature requirements," Manos wrote. "We expect to do the same for data centers. Everything will be pre-manufactured and assembled on the pad."

Microsoft calls its new architecture the "Generation 4 Modular Data Center," or Gen 4 for short. Just as in Chicago, Gen 4 data centers will use shipping containers filled with servers as their basic building block. However, Gen 4 data centers will be built with "modular units of prefabricated mechanical, electrical, [and] security components," unlike in Chicago, where Microsoft built a permanent backbone of these components, which the containers plug into.

In a short animated video, Microsoft showed how Gen 4 characteristics could be put in place in both the company's smaller data centers and in its mega-data centers. The portion of the video showing off the Gen 4 mega-data center almost looks like a series of interconnected tiny power plants.

Microsoft refers to traditional data centers that focus on uptime, reliability, and redundancy as Generation 1 data centers. The second generation, which Microsoft has in place in Quincy, Wash., and San Antonio, are built with more energy efficiency and sustainability in mind. Third-generation facilities, like the one in Chicago, are being built for massive scalability and cost efficiency.

Previous
1 of 2
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Oldest First  |  Newest First  |  Threaded View
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
2017 State of the Cloud Report
As the use of public cloud becomes a given, IT leaders must navigate the transition and advocate for management tools or architectures that allow them to realize the benefits they seek. Download this report to explore the issues and how to best leverage the cloud moving forward.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on InformationWeek.com for the week of November 6, 2016. We'll be talking with the InformationWeek.com editors and correspondents who brought you the top stories of the week to get the "story behind the story."
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll