Microsoft to invest $700m on datacentre expansion

Microsoft is planning a $677.6m (£440m) investment to expand its existing datacentre in West Des Moines, Iowa

Microsoft is planning a $677.6m (£440m) investment to expand its existing datacentre in West Des Moines, Iowa.

The state’s Economic Development Board has approved the software giant’s datacentre expansion project titled “Project Mountain” and Microsoft will receive up to $20m (£13m) in tax credits for it. .

Microsoft has designed, built and operated its Iowa datacentre since 2009 to support its IT delivery including cloud services such as Office 365. This $700m project marks the company’s third expansion on the 40-acre property it bought in West Des Moines in 2009.  

The expansion project will create 29 new jobs, according to the Iowa Economic Development Authority.

The site will house servers, networking products and office space. Microsoft’s datacentre expansion comes at a time when cloud providers including Google, Rackspace and Amazon are also launching IT expansion strategies to provide robust IaaS (infrastructure as a service) services to customers.

“The expansion of the West Des Moines datacentre is a win-win, bringing both new jobs to Iowa while supporting the growing demand for Microsoft’s cloud services,” said Christian Belady, general manager of datacentre services at Microsoft on the Greater Des Moines Partnership site.

Other tech giants such as Google and Facebook also own and operate datacentres in Iowa because of its cheaper energy prices, cheaper land rates and tax incentives.

In April, social media giant Facebook announced that it will build a datacentre in Altoona, Iowa - its fourth US facility since 2010. It cited the availability of wind energy in the area to build an energy-efficient infrastructure. Facebook also opened its first datacentre site outside the US in Lulea, Sweden earlier this month.

Meanwhile, Google has been operating its first Iowa datacentre in Council Buffs since 2007 and announced its plans to build another facility in 2012. Google has invested more than $1bn in its Iowa datacentres. “Council Bluffs has the right combination of energy infrastructure, developable land, and available workforce for the datacentre,” according to the company.

Microsoft operates several datacentres globally to provide its Windows Azure cloud services. In Europe, it has datacentre facilities in Ireland and Netherlands.

The new Iowa facility is likely to be ready by 2015 but Microsoft has not yet shared its server strategy, energy efficiency plans or infrastructure designs for Project Mountain. But as part of its commitment to carbon neutrality, Microsoft will offset the gross carbon emissions from the new datacentre by purchasing an equivalent amount of renewable energy credits.

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