Posted by: kurtsh | September 26, 2008

NEWS: Microsoft opens datacenter in Texas

We’re putting up a new datacenter – but this time it’s in Texas, and it’s the largest yet.  Larger purportedly than even our Quincy, WA facilities.

image Microsoft data center goes live today
Web Posted: 09/22/2008 12:00 CDT

Microsoft Corp.’s most technologically advanced data center opens today in Westover Hills.

It’s a massive $550 million, 470,000-square-foot building that will contain thousands of computer servers, which will begin serving up e-mail, Web pages, pictures, software applications and videos to customers online.

“San Antonio is a key hub for Microsoft in its North American distribution system,” said Mike Manos, Microsoft’s senior director of data center services.

Microsoft has built two nearly identical buildings under one roof on its 44-acre site. The servers in the first building go live today. The second half of the building is almost done, Manos said. It’s expected to be complete within the next few months, he said.

Microsoft’s facility with 75 employees also has helped to ignite a data center building boom in Westover Hills. Six other companies — Frost, PowerLoft, Stream Realty, Lowe’s Corp., Valero Corp. and Christus Health — have projects under way or planned there.


Additionally, the plan is to install solar panels to assist in powering the facility sometime in the future.  Of course this has hit the mainstream media like a Mac truck, what with their “save the planet” orientation.  Unfortunately for many press writers, many have already written that the datacenter will have photovoltaic cells on the center’s rooftops – despite the fact that that’s not actually going to happen any time soon.

Microsoft plans to install solar panels on the roof of its new data center in San Antonio, and will use photovoltaic power to supplement the 50 megawatts of capacity it has provisioned from local utility CPS Energy. The solar panels are just one example of the many steps Microsoft is taking to incorporate green technologies into its new data centers. While providing a visible illustration of the company’s commitment to environmentally-friendly technology, the solar panels may not make much of a dent in the energy bills for the $550 million San Antonio data center.

Solar energy hasn’t been widely used in data centers because of the large amounts of energy required to power the servers and cooling equipment in modern mission-critical facilities. It requires a very large installation of photovoltaic (PV) solar panels to produce even a fraction of the energy required by most data centers.

UPDATE: While Microsoft discussed plans to install solar panels at the San Antonio data center during Monday’s media event, the system won’t be operational in the near future. “While it is indeed sunny quite a bit of the time in San Antonio, the economics for solar are not yet a good fit for this facility,” said Mike Manos, general manager of Global Foundation Services for Microsoft. ”As solar technology advances, we anticipate that solar may become a more viable option within a few years. As a result, we have enabled our building to accept the technology and weight of solar panels when the technology matures.” 



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