Microsoft Data Centers: Spending Billions

July 1, 2008

GigaOM has another scoop. You can learn about Microsoft’s next-generation data centers in this exclusive video or read a summary of the main points. Both items available on the GigaOM.com Web site here. The information is quite dense, and I won’t try to summarize it. Navigate to GigaOM and watch the video. The key point for me is this statement:

Microsoft is taking the design of servers into its own hands. “We are doing some unique things in the mother board designs, server designs, and because we are Microsoft, operating systems.”

The quote in the quote is from Microsoft’s corporate VP of global foundation services, Debra Chrapaty. I have a diagram of Microsoft’s data center design circa 2006. If I can find it, I will post it and offer some observations. My research conducted in 2007 for a financial institution indicated that the “old data centers” posed some challenges for Microsoft; namely:

  1. Caching was needed to make Web search fast. The need for expensive edge services contributed to Microsoft’s purchase of Savvis.
  2. Microsoft was using a range of techniques to move data among data centers including some peer to peer technology and a bit of Linux.
  3. SQL Server access was a bit of a bottleneck, so a mechanism was set up to minimize direct access to SQL Server data tables.

The new changes may make Microsoft more competitive. But whatever Microsoft does, the company has to leap frog Google. The Sergey and Larry team has been working on data centers and infrastructure for a decade. Time may be running out for Microsoft to bound over the still growing Googzilla.

Stephen Arnold, July 1, 2008

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