Microsoft to get huge datacentre in China

Big clouds and big datacentres are big in China. Local company 21Vianet is building a new datacentre which should be completed this year - ready for Microsoft to move in.

Chinese datacentre provider 21Vianet is building one of China's largest datacentres, which will occupy a space about the size of six football pitces.

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Cloud and hosting company 21Vianet announced this week it had started construction on the datacentre in the Daxing, a southern district of Beijing.

Construction of the 42,000 square metre facility is expected to be completed by the end of 2013. During the first phase of operation, it will be capable of holding 3,000 cabinets and will later expand to 5,000 cabinets.

Microsoft will be involved in the project from the outset. 21Vianet's CEO, chairman and founder Josh Chen, said in a statement: "We will also utilise this datacentre to power Microsoft's premier commercial cloud services" — presumably Azure.

The Shanghai municipal government, 21Vianet and Microsoft "joined hands" in 2011 to celebrate 21Vianet's licence to provide Office 365 and Azure cloud computing, storage, database, integration and networking services across China.

21Vianet operates the cloud services from a datacentre located on the high-rise filled Pudong side of Shanghai's Bund, providing a locally hosted alternative to direct Microsoft Office 365 services that are delivered from other facilities across the Asia-Pacific region. Promoting its own Office 365 offering, 21Vianet noted that time: "Services from these [foreign] datacentres will be subject to relevant the laws of regions in which the datacenters are located."

Although large, 21Vianet's Daxing datacentre pales in size to the cloud datacentre IBM and Chinese firm Range Technology are developing in northern China province Heibei. The 620,000 square metre datacentre will be about 96 football fields in size, or as Forbes put it, nearly the same size as the Pentagon.

That facility is expected to be completed by 2016 and was touted by IBM as Asia's largest cloud computing centre.