Microsoft Plans Roofless Data Centers - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

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.

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Previous
1 of 2
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Slideshows
10 Ways to Transition Traditional IT Talent to Cloud Talent
Lisa Morgan, Freelance Writer,  11/23/2020
News
What Comes Next for the COVID-19 Computing Consortium
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  11/24/2020
News
Top 10 Data and Analytics Trends for 2021
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  11/13/2020
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Video
Current Issue
Why Chatbots Are So Popular Right Now
In this IT Trend Report, you will learn more about why chatbots are gaining traction within businesses, particularly while a pandemic is impacting the world.
Slideshows
Flash Poll