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Microsoft recently opened Redmond Ridge 1, the company’s first purpose-built Research and Development Support (R&DS) facility designed specifically to consolidate computer labs from the main Redmond campus and house servers used in the development and testing of its software products. Servers in Redmond Ridge 1 will use one-third less energy than the same servers would use in a traditional office building lab like those on the Redmond campus. 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.
The facility uses an innovative and custom self-contained Pod design. Each Pod has an individual Uninterrupted Power Source (UPS) and rooftop air handler, direct network connectivity and dynamic generator backup. A state-of-the-art cooling design that relies on evaporative coolers and basic physics to cool the facility—instead of chillers – helps drive much of the reduction in energy for the facility. 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% of every year with evaporative cooling being used during the remaining 5%.
Redmond Ridge 1 also showcases the virtual machine capabilities of Windows Server 2008 R2 and Hyper V. Windows Server 2008 R2 allows for development servers to be centrally located, managed and secured from anywhere in the world with multiple developers/testers using the same box from different locations.
Redmond Ridge 1 is the culmination of a significant cultural change within Microsoft from the traditional model, where a product group self-manages their own lab in an office building, to large centrally managed and more energy efficient alternative. Estimated to be at full capacity in Spring 2010, this facility will provide rack space to house over 35,000 servers at a fraction of the cost of traditional methods. This facility will help enable Microsoft to achieve its goals in cost and carbon emission reductions, greater efficiencies, and environmental sustainability.
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