Sunday, December 4, 2011

Microsoft data centers of yore

Microsoft is continually improving all the important aspects of its data centers. It closely manages all the costs of a data center, including power, cooling, staff, local laws, risk of disaster, availability of natural resources, and many other factors. While managing all this, it has designed its fourth generation of data centers. Microsoft didn’t just show up at this party; it planned it by building on a deep expertise in building and running global data centers over the past few decades.

The first generation of data centers is still the most common in the world. Think of the special room with servers in it. It has racks, cable ladders, raised floors, cooling, uninterruptable power supplies (UPSs), maybe a backup generator, and it’s cooled to a temperature that could safely house raw beef. The focus is placed on making sure the servers are running; no thought or concern is given to the operating costs of the data center. These data centers are built to optimize the capital cost of building them, with little thought given to costs accrued beyond the day the center opens. (By the way, the collection of servers under your desk doesn’t qualify as a Generation 1 data center. Please be careful not to kick a cord loose while you do your work.)

Generation 2 data centers take all the knowledge learned by running Generation 1 data centers and apply a healthy dose of thinking about what happens on the second day of operation. Ongoing operational costs are reduced by optimizing for sustainability and energy efficiency. To meet these goals, Microsoft powers its Quincy, Washington, data center with clean hydroelectric power. Its data center in San Antonio, Texas, uses recycled civic gray water to cool the data center, reducing the stress on the water sources and infrastructure in the area.

Source of Information : Manning Azure in Action 2010
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