Microsoft has now invested close to one billion dollars in constructing its new “Gen 4” data center in Boydton, Virginia. What does a billion dollars purchase in data centers? As it turns out, it’s all put into new technology, construction and forward thinking green business practices.
Instead of creating the facility completely on-site, construction of the data center is done off-site utilizing IT Preassembled Components (IT-PACs), which contain the IT, the mechanical, security and the electrical components.
First announced in 2008 by the former key architect of Microsoft’s data center strategy, Michael Manos, he describes the IT-PACs as being “a highly modular, scalable, efficient, just-in-time data center capacity program that can be delivered anywhere in the world very quickly and cheaply, while allowing for continued growth as required.”
Energy efficiency is also a major part of this new data center. With Microsoft looking to achieve an average Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) at or below 1.125. According to a 2012 article in The Data Center Journal, the typical data center PUE was 2.0, with the US Department of Energy pushing for a PUE of 1.5 or below.
The Microsoft Data Center is utilizing an “adiabatic cooling system” which will use about 1% of the water that is used in a traditional data center, in spite of the warm Virgina climate and in spite of the fact that this new data center does not have a roof.
Interestingly enough, although the building of the data center will create many local construction jobs, according to CNET, the completed data center will only employ about 50 people, mainly in security.
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