Microsoft has revealed plans to build a second data center in the Quincy area of central Washington State early this year, as it looks to expand its cloud computing capabilities.

In a company blog, Kevin Timmons, general manager of data services for Microsoft, said the new Quincy facility will build on key learnings gained from recent data centers the company has opened in Chicago, Ill., and Dublin, Ireland.

The Dublin facility uses server pods and outside air economization to cool servers and reduce infrastructure expenses. The Chicago data center uses IT Pre-Assembled Components (ITPACs) to speed deployment and increase expansion capabilities. The ITPAC units are fully-assembled containers or modules that can be easily moved into the warehouse-like facility and can house between 400 and 2,000 servers.

Timmons said the Quincy expansion will take the pod and ITPAC concepts a step further, by extending the flexibility of pre-assembled components across the entire facility. Modular “building blocks” are being created for electrical, mechanical, server and security subsystems.

“This increase in flexibility enables us to even better support the needs of what can often be a very unpredictable online business and allows us to build data centers incrementally as capacity grows,” he said in the blog. “Our modular design enables us to build a facility in significantly less time while reducing capital costs by an average of 50% to 60% over the lifetime of the project.

Microsoft also recently detailed plans to open other modular data center in Virginia and Iowa.


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