Microsoft has staked almost $1 billion on the cloud with the announcement of a $350 million expansion of their Virginia data center campus.
As Microsoft’s business strategy shifts to the cloud, with applications delivered online rather than as traditional boxed software, they are investing heavily in the infrastructure to support it. Data Center Knowledge reports that the software giant will invest an additional $348 million into their Virginia data center, bringing their total investment at the site to $1 billion.
“This expansion will allow us to meet the growing demand from consumers and businesses for our cloud services in the region in an increasingly efficient manner,” said Christian Belady, general manager of Microsoft Data Center Services. ”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.
The facility features modular buildings designed to be built fast that they call IT-PAC (Pre-assembled components). Easily cooled, the IT-PAC containers can jam up to 2500 servers into a single unit that pulls cold air in one side and pumps the hot air out the other. They are cost-effective and can be deployed in about half the time that it takes to get a traditional data center on line. In fact, Microsoft has shared the design with the United Nations so they can set up energy-efficient modular data centers in developing parts of the world.
This and other Microsoft data centers are a key to a major strategy shift at the company as it moves beyond traditional desktop software business to offer more cloud computing services. They need the data centers to host and provide access to their cloud based applications which customers will access over the Internet.