Microsoft on Wednesday launched a new datacentre in Dublin, describing it as the largest it has built outside the US.
The site is what Microsoft calls a "mega datacentre", a class the company has constructed previously only in the US. The company plans to open another mega datacentre in Chicago on 20 July, it said in a blog post on Monday.
Both the new sites are intended to support Microsoft's online services, including its Azure hosted services and the recently introduced Bing search engine.
The Dublin facility covers 303,000 square feet, Arne Josefsberg, general manager of infrastructure services at Microsoft's Global Foundation Services, wrote in the blog post. It can provide 5.4 megawatts of power now, expandable to a total of 22.2 megawatts, he added.
Josefsberg said the building was constructed to take advantage of Ireland's cool climate.
"The facility makes extensive use of outside air economisation to cool the facility year-round, resulting in greater power efficiency with a resultant reduction in carbon footprint," he wrote.
The Chicago facility covers more than 700,000 square feet, with 30 megawatts of power initially available, expandable up to 60 megawatts, Josefsberg said. Two-thirds of the facility is intended to house countainerised servers — shipping containers full of servers that can be cooled more efficiently than a conventional building.
The units can be made operational within hours, allowing quick expansion of capacity, and their server density can be more than 10 times that of a traditional datacentre, Josefsberg said.
Last month, Ray Ozzie, Microsoft's chief software architect, said the growth of online services would lead to more datacentres being built outside the US, citing the need for datacentres "everywhere on Earth".