Microsoft Expects Savings From New Datacenter

Microsoft has built a new modular datacenter to house most of the servers the company uses for research and development of its products previously scattered around the campus. Its objective is to drive down costs related to those servers as well as to be easier on the environment.

Many global companies are going with green — or “greener” — datacenters, so Microsoft’s move is just one of the latest, but perhaps one of the more innovative in that respect.

Dubbed Redmond Ridge 1, the recently-opened datacenter is designed to use one-third of the energy demanded by those same servers when they are located in individual labs in office buildings around Microsoft’s (NASDAQ: MSFT) sprawling Redmond, Washington campus.

The center, which is projected to be at full capacity by next spring, will hold more than 35,000 servers, according to a blog post Wednesday night, by Francois Ajenstat, Microsoft director of environmental sustainability.

“When loaded to full capacity, Redmond Ridge 1 will reduce both Microsoft’s operational energy use and costs, and will help deliver an overall carbon savings of 12,000 metric tons per year,” Ajenstat said.

Those carbon savings, as well as the dollar savings that the company hopes to achieve, will come from the new datacenter’s modular design, which is divided up into individual self-contained “pods.”

“Each Pod has an individual uninterrupted power source (UPS) and rooftop air handler, direct network connectivity and dynamic generator backup,” the post continued.

The rooftop air handlers depend on evaporation coolers instead of the usual chillers. “Instead of massive, inefficient air conditioning plants on the roof of the building, independent pod-specific air handlers deliver naturally cool outside air directly to each Pod approximately 95 percent of every year,” Ajenstat said. That means the evaporative coolers are projected to be needed only five percent of the time.

Other savings are projected to come from the use of Microsoft’s Hyper-V virtualization technology in Windows Server 2008 Release 2 (R2), which is meant to enable central location of development servers while providing remote management from anywhere in the world.

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