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Microsoft To Build More Data Centers To Meet Cloud Demand

By - Source: Toms IT Pro

The Port of Quincy, Washington announced it is selling a total of 202 acres to Microsoft. The company plans to build a new data center at the location. This is the second land purchase made by Microsoft in Quincy; in 2007 the company bought 75 acres for the construction of a data center.

The transaction has yet to be finalized and is expected to close in late January. Microsoft will first buy 60 acres for $3,985,500 from Quincy, then purchase the remaining 142 acres from the city for $7,058,700. Quincy recently bought the larger portion of land from a private owner.

Sean James, Senior Research Program Manager, Data Center at Global Foundation Services said, "Microsoft looks at over 35 criteria when selecting a site to build a data center, including the latency between the users in that area and our existing data centers, quality of the end-to-end customer experience, close proximity to dark fiber, suitable environmental factors including permits, average temps that enable free cooling, completed studies showing local risk factors, and no endangered species, and sufficient land size." Global Foundation Services provides core infrastructure for Microsoft data centers.

According to Global Foundations, the existing Quincy data center uses a modular design that reduces water and power use by up to 50% compared to traditional data centers. And according to a 2013 survey by Digital Realty Trust, the average data center power usage effectiveness (PUE) is 2.9. PUE is the ratio of total facility energy to IT equipment energy, indicating more efficient energy usage; 1 being the ideal rating. The existing Quincy data center PUE ranges from 1.2 to 1.5 at peak usage.

Microsoft is not the only IT company with its expansive eye on Quincy. Dell, Yahoo, Intuit, Sabey and Vantage are all currently operating data centers in the area. This is no coincidence, Port of Quincy’s low electricity costs and the fact that power comes from two hydroelectric dams on the Columbia River makes the area very attractive to IT companies.

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James Sullivan is a freelance technology writer whose concentrations include cloud computing and video game development. He is based in Portland, Oregon.

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