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Microsoft to build $250m datacentre in Finland for European customers

Archana Venkatraman

Microsoft is to design and build its next datacentre in Finland. The new facility, costing over $250m (£161m), will be used to serve Microsoft customers in Europe.

The company revealed it had chosen Finland as the home for its next datacentre on the same day as it announced plans to acquire ailing Finnish telecommunications company Nokia in a $7.2bn deal.

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Subject to approval by Nokia shareholders and regulators, the acquisition will be finalised in early 2014, and follows a two-and-a-half-year strategic partnership between the two companies.

Microsoft also announced that it plans to invest more than a quarter of a billion dollars in capital and operation of the Finland datacentre over the next few years, with the potential for further expansion over time.

Microsoft has not yet shared its server strategy, energy efficiency plans or infrastructure designs for the new infrastructure, but it is expected to make use of the free-air cooling and renewable energy resources in the datacentre to meet its carbon reduction strategy.

Finland becomes a core place for Microsoft in Europe, said Nokia’s interim chief executive Risto Siilasmaa, while announcing the Microsoft-Nokia deal.

Helsinki is a growing datacentre hub and offers easy access to Russia and the Baltic countries. However, it is not yet clear if Microsoft will use the Finnish datacentre to provide its Windows Azure cloud services to enterprise customers in Europe.

Microsoft already has other European datacentre facilities – in Ireland and The Netherlands.

The Dublin datacentre is Microsoft’s first mega datacentre outside the US, and the modular facility uses air-side economisers for cooling efficiency and recycles more than 99% of its IT waste.

The new Finnish datacentre is the latest in Microsoft’s datacentre expansion strategy. In June, it announced that it is investing $677.6m to expand its existing datacentre in West Des Moines, Iowa.

The Project Mountain expansion project will earn Microsoft up to $20m (£13m) in tax credits from the state’s Economic Development Board. The site will house servers, networking products and office space. 

The expansion of the West Des Moines datacentre will support the “growing demand for Microsoft’s cloud services”, according to Christian Belady, general manager of datacentre services at Microsoft.


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