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Microsoft to pack its data centers with shipping containers; consolidate power upto 1000W per square foot!

Data Center Knowledge first reported Microsoft’s interest in container-based data centers last May, and late in 2007 Microsoft confirmed that it would use container-based data center solutions in the new $500 million, 500,000 square foot facility in Northlake, Illinois. Microsoft’s Debra Chrapaty said the containers could support power densities beyond 1,000 watts per square foot.

The layout of the first floor of the Chicago center will feature rows and rows of containers parked at a 45 degree angle. Manos said the facility will accommodate between 150 and 220 shipping containers, which will be shipped and dropped off by trucks. That approach led Microsoft to consult with parking lot operators to address the design logistics of enabling large trucks to navigate within the facility.

Shipping containers have been used for years by the U.S. military. In 2006 Sun Microsystems (JAVA) introduce Project Blackbox (now the Sun MD S20), the first effort at a “data center in a box” incorporating a high-density computing environment into a 20-foot shipping container. The containers can travel on trains, ships or trucks.


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