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Microsoft Jams Thousands of Servers Into Boxes, Building Out $1 Billion Data Center

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#1

Microsoft is using these ITPAC data center modules to quickly build up cloud capacity in Virginia

When Microsoft wants to quickly ramp up a new data center, it can move dirt, pour a foundation, and build one of the most boring buildings you’ve ever seen. Or it can load up a few of its custom-designed data center modules onto a truck and drop them on the site.

The company has done a little of both at its Boydton, Virginia, data center, a massive facility that opened up a year ago.

This week, Microsoft said it planned to expand the site over the next 16 months, making its total investment in Boydton just a hair under $1 billion. Microsoft says the site will include both regular old data center buildings as well as some of these cool modules, which the company calls ITPACs.

The company also provided us with some photos of these ITPACs in action.

The data center will help Microsoft supply compute power to its growing cloud business, said Christian Belady, the general manager of Microsoft Data Center Services, in a press release. “These facilities showcase state-of-the-art designs developed from our latest technology and infrastructure research that continues to minimize water, energy use, and building costs, while increasing computing capacity, software capabilities, and server utilization.”

A fair bit of that capacity will come from the ITPACs. They’re are pre-assembled containers that come jammed with as many as 2,500 servers, that suck cool air in on one side and spit it out on the other.

It’s an energy efficient design that Microsoft has shared with the United Nations for use in an energy efficient office in Nairobi, Kenya.

These mini datacenters-in-a-box let Microsoft gradually build out its facilities without making a huge upfront investment and — bonus — cut down on building costs. A single person can build one of these units in just four days, Microsoft says. That means that the company can ramp up its servers in about half the time it takes in traditional datacenters.


Servers squeezed together inside an ITPAC

http://www.wired.com/wiredenterprise/2013/02/boydton/
 

Frick

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#2

Aquinus

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#3
Every household should have one.
 
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#4
So THIS is where they store all my junk mail, hmmm.
 
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#6
I'd be interested to know what they do when one of the servers needs to be serviced. Also, how do they manage dust? They look like they're designed to be built, dropped in, and never touched again.
 
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#7
I'll just put one of these in mah spare room
 
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#8
It would be fun to play with one for a bit
 
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#9
I poured a slab.
Where's mine microsoft?
I'm waiting.....