Microsoft Data Center Bets the Farm

In a century-old farming town in central Washington state, Microsoft has built a farm for the Internet age. But don’t be on the lookout for corn or cows, this farm teems with computer servers and data storage systems that will serve as the backbone of Microsoft’s effort to combat escalating competition on the Web from Google and others. Microsoft’s new data center in Quincy, Wash., is its largest “server farm” to date–big enough to house seven soccer fields–and a physical manifestation of the company’s giant ambitions to be a force in the world of Web services.

The world’s largest software maker will officially flip the switch on tens of thousands of computer servers at the Quincy facility this week and Microsoft is already at work on a massive $550 million data center in San Antonio, Texas.

At a Goldman Sachs conference in February, Microsoft’s chief software architect, Ray Ozzie, said the company will continue to invest in new data centers, building enough capacity to eventually allow other companies and developers to build Web services on top of its infrastructure.

It’s a strategy that online retailer Amazon.com has already embraced.

Morningstar estimates that Microsoft’s capital spending will rise 50 percent to $1.5 billion this fiscal year and expects that figure to grow another 50 percent next year to $2.3 billion. It is still only a small portion of Microsoft’s estimated $50 billion in revenue this fiscal year.

The Quincy facility will consume up to 48 megawatts of electricity–enough to power 40,000 homes. [24×7]

Category: What's Brewing?

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Larry Sivitz is founder, publisher and managing editor of Seattle24x7, the founder of SearchWrite Search Marketing, an SEO, PPC and Social Media Thought Leader, and an SPJ award winner for Seattle magazine.