Jim Hanna joins Microsoft’s cloud group to ensure sustainability in its data center growth
Microsoft has appointed former Starbucks director of environmental affairs Jim Hanna to a newly created role, to ensure that its push to create numerous data centers to compete with Amazon Web Services (AWS) meets the highest sustainability practices.
The company wants to ensure that its strategy to increase datacenter capacity and make its Azure services more widely available around the world does not make it lose focus on the environmental impact this creates. As a high profile company, Microsoft is well aware that environmentalists are monitoring the growth of datacenters and wants to be seen to be as green as possible.
Source: Microsoft / DCD
As director for datacenter sustainability, Hanna will work with the Microsoft Cloud Infrastructure and Operations (MCIO) team. This will include Brian Janous, director of energy strategy, and TJ DiCaprio, senior director of environmental sustainability.
The new post is an important part of a substantial investment drive intended to break AWS’ dominance in cloud services. Azure has taken longer to bite than Microsoft expected but, now that it has gained traction, the company apparently feels it is time to take the initiative and turn the heat up on Amazon.
There is also the supporting infrastructure for Microsoft services such as Live and Office 360 to be catered for. Even so, last year’s third quarter spend by Microsoft on datacenter expansion was estimated to be just over half of Google’s budget.
Rob Bernard, Microsoft’s chief environmental strategist, said, “Jim’s addition to our team is part of our ongoing commitment to strengthen Microsoft’s work to make our data centers more sustainable. As we’ve discussed over the past year, Microsoft is committed to building the most hyperscale public cloud that operates around the world in more regions than anyone else.”
At Starbucks, Hanna was in charge of shaping the company’s sustainability policies in its supply chain, and reducing its energy and water usage.