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Microsoft details 'transparent' datacentre

Microsoft has given details on a new datacentre it is building that is designed to maximise the use of free air cooling.The datacentre, to be located in Quincy, Washington, has a structure that is built out of multiple, modular pre-assembled components (PACs), Microsoft said on Tuesday.
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Written by Jack Clark, Reporter on

Microsoft has given details on a new datacentre it is building that is designed to maximise the use of free air cooling.

The datacentre, to be located in Quincy, Washington, has a structure that is built out of multiple, modular pre-assembled components (PACs), Microsoft said on Tuesday.

"The structure is virtually transparent to ambient outdoor conditions allowing us to essentially place our servers and storage outside in the cool air while still protecting it from the elements", Microsoft's general manager for Datacentre Services, Kevin Timmons, wrote in a blog post. "Our modular approach to design and construction with these facilities will allow us to substantially lower cost per megawatt to build and run our datacentres".

The facility takes many cues from the huge datacentre Microsoft opened in Dublin in 2009. Like the Dublin facility, it uses a combination of containerised server pods and free cooling.

By making it easier for outside air to flow through a datacentre, it is possible to cut the energy costs required to run chillers and other air conditioning units.

Modular datacentres are becoming more prevalent, as organisations look to boost the efficiency with which they can meet demand while keeping electricity costs down.

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