A week after opening its first “megadata center” in Europe, Microsoft took the wraps off another new $500 million data center, this time located in Chicago. The software giant says the new data center is required to meet its online and cloud computing plans and will serve as a test bed for new data center innovations, including a shipping container strategy.

In a blog detailing the innovations being tested in Chicago, Microsoft General Manager of Infrastructure Services Arne Josefsberg, says the facility offers a window into what may be the future of data centers. “One of the many reasons we decided to hold a grand opening of the Chicago facility is to share our best practices,” he says.

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