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Microsoft Pri0

Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times reporter Sharon Chan.

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December 10, 2008 3:15 PM

Data center construction delays?

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

InternetNews has a thorough report today pointing to several signs that Google and Microsoft are slowing construction on their expensive data centers to save costs against the backdrop of recession.

Specifically, the story says Google is delaying the start of an Oklahoma data center by up to a year and a half because "we have enough capacity elsewhere," according to a spokesman. The company apparently is proceeding more slowly with another in North Carolina.

Microsoft, according to an anonymous source quoted by InternetNews, has its nearly completed Chicago data center -- one of the company's first to use a modular design with servers stored in self-contained cargo containers -- in a sort of stasis. "It's being handled like a big storage facility. They might bring power in, but they are talking about it months from now," the source said.

He also told InternetNews containers at the Chicago site are not being connected to the Internet -- just wired for heating and cooling.

InternetNews got a comment on Chicago from Michael Manos, data center general manager at Microsoft: "Online and Live services are a major focus of Microsoft, and as we continue to build out our offerings and the Chicago data center, we're working to make the right, smart operational and data center investments for today and tomorrow."

As further evidence that Microsoft is slowing data center construction, InternetNews points to the absence of a West Des Moines, Iowa, site from this press release, issued in October, which lists other major centers Microsoft will use to power Windows Azure, one of its new online services.

Data Center Knowledge noted the same thing at the time of the announcement and was told then by Microsoft, "We are still in the process of completing the design of the Iowa data center," said a Microsoft spokesperson. "Once the design process is finalized, we will announce next steps for construction and beginning operations at the facility."

Also, it appears that the West Des Moines center will be one of the Wave 4 data centers that Manos described in a blog post last week. At the time it was announced, he told Data Center Knowledge, it would be "significantly different than anything that has come before."

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