Microsoft Invests $700m In Massive Iowa Data Centre

Pedro Hernandez covers Microsoft products and services, such as Office, Windows, Windows Phone, Azure and Skype.

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A massive cloud computing facility under construction in West Des Moines, Iowa, has been revealed to be part of Microsoft’s growing cloud services and applications portfolio

Microsoft is spending nearly $700 (£450m) million on “Project Mountain”, a data centre in West Des Moines, Iowa, that will aid in the company’s cloud expansion.

The news emerged after Iowa’s Economic Development Authority Board approved $20 million in tax credits for Project Mountain, according to a 21 June report by the Des Moines Register’s Donnelle Eller. The company secured an up to $6 million five-year tax rebate from the West Des Moines City Council a week earlier.

Investing in the cloud

Microsoft is not alone in pouring massive amounts of money into the region, nor will it be the last. The report indicated Microsoft will spend $677.6 million, two months after Facebook announced it would spend $300 million in a multi-phase data centre project in Altoona, Iowa, that will soar past the $1 billion mark. Google is expected to invest $1.5 billion on its Council Bluffs, Iowa, data centre.

“Microsoft’s latest expansion pushes its investment to nearly a billion dollars. It would become the third big tech company to push its data centre investment to $1 billion or more,” wrote Eller. “Debi Durham, the state’s economic development director, said Iowa may see more data centre projects this year.”

Microsoft © Peteri Shutterstock 2012The data centre will add to Microsoft’s growing cloud services and applications portfolio.

“The expansion supports the growing demand for Microsoft’s cloud services,” Microsoft’s Christian Belady, general manager of the company’s Data Centre Services division, is quoted as saying in the Des Moines Register. The data centre is expected to support services including XBox Live and Office 365.

Microsoft’s upcoming next-gen console, the Xbox One, will feature cloud-enabled gameplay sharing, capture and matchmaking features anchored by the Xbox Live service.

Office 365, meanwhile, is set to receive updates that narrow the features gap between its web apps and their desktop counterparts. The company’s cloud is also emerging into an enterprise-grade cloud computing platform.

Energy efficiency

On 18 June, the company announced that its Dynamics GP 2013 and Dynamics NAV 2013 enterprise resource planning (ERP) offerings are available as cloud-delivered software.

Big business has taken notice of Microsoft’s cloudy moves. Windows Azure General Manager Steven Martin said on June 14 that more than half of the Fortune 500 has adopted the fast-growing Azure platform.

“In just a year, we have grown to over 200 services for our platform, more than doubled our customer base (now at 250,000) and are seeing an average of 1,000 new customers per day,” he stated in a blog post.

There are also signs that the project will incorporate the latest innovations in energy-efficient and eco-friendly IT. Project Mountain represents “our latest in efficient data centre thinking,” Belady told the Des Moines Register.

In January, Microsoft announced plans for a $348 million green data centre expansion in Virginia.

“These facilities showcase state-of-the-art designs developed from our latest technology and infrastructure research that continues to minimise water, energy use and building costs, while increasing computing capacity, software capabilities and server utilisation,” Belady said in a prepared statement at the time.

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Originally published on eWeek.

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