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Microsoft, Oracle, NSA Plan for Green Data Centers

microsoftdatacenter2Two leading software providers, Microsoft Corp. and Oracle Corp., along with the National Security Agency, are moving ahead with their “green” data center plans, although Oracle’s project in Utah is reportedly delayed.

Microsoft Corp. plans to open a 700,000-square-foot data center in Northlake, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, next week, less than three weeks after opening a 300,000-square-foot facility in Dublin, reports Computer World.

Both data centers will house hundreds of thousands of servers that will help support the company’s new Bing search engine and other online services, according to Computer World.

The Northlake data center will feature “containerized servers” that house between 1,800 to 2,500 servers each that can be wheeled into the facility and be operational within hours, said Arne Josefsberg, Microsoft’s general manager of infrastructure services, in a blog.

Two-thirds of the Northlake data center will be available for container servers, which are designed to conserve energy and help Microsoft achieve new advances in power efficiency with an annual Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) average of 1.22, according to the blog.

The Dublin facility makes extensive use of outside air economization to cool the facility year round, resulting in greater power efficiency and a reduction in carbon footprint, said Josefsberg in the blog.

Similarly, Oracle has plans to build a modular-type green data center that would allow the company to expand the building quickly for both power and efficiency.

In November, Oracle touted the modular data center, dubbed Project Sequoia, as a model for future data centers, using the latest advances in virtualization, Linux, and grid computing, to maximize computing power while reducing energy consumption and overall environmental impact.

The Utah data center is designed to be green from the ground up, combining highly efficient equipment with cutting-edge design features that is expected, for example, to dramatically reduce heating and cooling needs, said Oracle. The company also expects the facility to use half the support energy of Oracle’s Austin data center.

The Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GEOD) still believes business software giant Oracle Corp. will finish the $313 million data center in West Jordan, even though construction was halted soon after it started, reports the Salt Lake Tribune. Oracle has not said when it will resume work on the data center.

West Jordan officials, who provided their own $10 million incentive package, also believe Oracle will follow through, reports the Salt Lake Tribune.

Another, but larger, green data center is also destined for Utah. Last week President Barack Obama signed a war spending bill that includes a National Security Agency (NSA) data center that is estimated to cost $1.6 billion over the next four years, reports IT Knowledge Exchange.

A 200-acre data center would be built at Camp Williams, a military base just south of Salt Lake City. The data center would initially use 30 megawatts for the IT load, according to military documents, with room to expand up to 65 megawatts, which is equivalent to the power used by all the homes in Salt Lake City, reports the tech Web site.

The agency hopes to begin construction of the facility in September and finish by next May, according to IT Knowledge Exchange. The article also notes several key energy-efficient features including sustainable site characteristics, water and energy efficiency, materials and resources criteria, and indoor environmental quality. The facility is also expected to meet the highest LEED standard attainable within available resources.

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