Microsoft is planning to invest US$348m in expanding its data center capacity in Mecklenburg County, Virginia.
The investment will fund construction of two more facilities on the company’s campus, Virginia governor Bob McDonnell’s office announced Wednesday. The investment adds to the $499m Microsoft invested to build the initial data center at the site in 2010.
The biggest aspect of the project the governor’s announcement touted was its job-creation potential. The state government expects the expansion project to create 30 new jobs, according to the governor’s office.
“The company continues to grow its cloud operations, representing a total of nearly one billion dollars in capital investment,” McDonnell said.
State and local officials put in some energy and cash to make sure Microsoft decides to expand in their state.
County officials worked with the state’s economic development organization to make the location an attractive one for the software giant. The governor approved a $200,000 grant to assist the county in its efforts and a state community-revitalization commission approved a $2m grant for the project.
Christian Belady, general manager of data center services at Microsoft, said the expansion was a response to demand for the company’s cloud services in the region. “We appreciate the strong working relationship with the State of Virginia and the County of Mecklenburg,” he said.
Microsoft has multiple large-scale data centers around the world. The company builds them to its own designs and stuffs them with custom-designed servers to increase energy efficiency and reduce infrastructure costs.
With this approach to infrastructure – also taken by other hyperscale data center operators like Google, Amazon and Yahoo! – the company has become one of the major innovators in data center design.
Some of its data center capacity is built out in custom-designed data center modules, called ITPACs. The company designed them to maximize the use of free cooling and minimize deployment time.
One of the latest projects of Microsoft’s data center design team is a pilot installation of a biogas-powered ITPAC on the site of a sewage-treatment plant in Wyoming. The data center has a fuel cell that converts methane generated by the treatment process into electricity to power the servers.