New Chicago Data Center One of World’s Largest to use Containers

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The Official Blog of Microsoft's
Environmental Sustainability Team

New Chicago Data Center One of World’s Largest to use Containers

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Microsoft is celebrating the grand opening of our new Chicago data center today.  The 700,000 square feet  facility will help Live, Online and Cloud Computing services offerings for customers throughout North America. 

In a post on the Global Foundation Services (Data Centers team) by Arne Josefsberg, General Manager, he suggests environmental sustainability is in Microsoft’s DNA and the Chicago data center serves as a great example.”

The Chicago data center uses pre-manufactured, standard shipping containers, each of which house approximately 1,800 to 2,500 servers.  The use of containers allows for greater conservation of energy and power efficiency. In addition, the isolated nature of containers enables Microsoft and its vendors to research new approaches around power and cooling alternatives to reduce energy consumption even more in the future.

Another interesting feature in Chicago is the use of “water-side economization,” which enables us to cool the facility without requiring the high levels of electricity typically needed to power large chillers. 

Last week Microsoft celebrated the opening of a new data center in Dublin, Ireland.  The Ireland data center was uniquely situated to take advantage of Ireland’s cool outside air to help cool the facility. 

More details on the Chicago data center are available here.

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