Microsoft’s Secret Datacenter Cloud Computing

Forbes reported that in a suburb outside Chicago, Microsoft has been showing off its cloud data center:

The 707,000-square-foot building will hold, at top strength, 162 sealed cargo containers of up to 2,500 computer servers each, plus thousands more servers in conventional racks. The cost: $500 million. . . .

All the computers will run on a single operating system . . . that, eventually, will let big companies run applications like e-mail and house data at this and other Microsoft data centers. . . . The idea is to cut the cost of the labor, the hardware and the energy that go into data processing, and to make files accessible to workers who move around a lot. Proponents promise cost reductions between 30% to 90%. At the Chicago center only three Microsoft employees and a few contractors can run over 400,000 servers catering to more than 670 million e-mail and instant messaging accounts and drawing 60 megawatts of electricity.

Microsoft has a principle of “eating its own dog food,” so it will initially use this center to run 250 of its businesses, including the Bing search service and the Xbox Live gaming platform, which currently run on servers all over the world. But Forbes says, “The real goal is to persuade big companies like Coca Cola, Fujitsu, and Pitney Bowes (which have all taken a peek) to trust their data to the megacomputers and then trust Azure to manage it.

” Microsoft’s “special seasoning,” which it hopes will distinguish it from a growing array of competitors is to convince developers that with Microsoft development tools, there is “one way to write for everything, everywhere: the cloud, the server, the desktop, and mobile,” according to Timothy O’Brien, Microsoft’s senior director for platform strategy.“That is a really big deal,” he claims.

The Forbes article goes on to say:

Microsoft does not expect wholesale corporate adoption at first. Businesses will start with just a few components, like sending a portion of email or little-used data off to Microsoft’s care. As it builds trust, Azure will grow in size and complexity, says Arne Josefsberg, Microsoft’s general manager of infrastructure services: “It’s going to be a negotiation every day.” But Josefsberg insists that if Azure absorbs both Microsoft’s online empire and a fair amount of corporate assignments, it may be the Internet’s largest single piece of software, in terms of the amount of data it runs, within a year.


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