Microsoft Kicks its Data Centers Out to the Cold

Is this real? Or is this a fantasy? Microsoft's outdoor data centers are testing the boundaries.

It’s Christmas morning. The snow is falling outside and little, old you, between bouts of online gaming, look out the window to see a Microsoft supercomputer sitting outside in the cold.

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Okay, so that’s a little bit of an exaggeration…

But not as much of one as you think. Because Microsoft has been building data centers which are self-sustainable in the wild. Seriously! So you set up a giant, skinless server (think motherboard, CPU, storage, networking and memory), attach it to a bunch of other skinless servers, and plop them down into an empty field.

Neowin.net’s Christopher White said that there were four important aspects which made these outdoor supercomputer plants possible:

  • Extreme Standardization of both the hardware and software layers
  • SLA-Driven architecture where workloads are resilient at the application layer, not the physical layer
  • Process maturity, including automation and rigid change control
  • Delegation and control, driving out the human element and allowing customers to self-serve
The interesting part is that outdoor computers defeat the biggest enemy of all: overheating.

Not all computers are made for the outdoors (above), but Microsoft’s data centers are.

So that snowman computer that you might see outside your window on Christmas morning is actually defeating the elements in ways previously unexplored. If heat is like a poison, outdoor computers are the antidote. Simply put out your data center, put a fence around the supercomputers, and enjoy the benefits. It’s really that easy.

What do you think? Should computers stay indoors? Or is it good to give them free and open pastures?


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Author
Nick Fouriezos
I'm a freelance journalist who loves sports, gaming and creative writing. I'm also a GameSkinny intern and right now I'm playing unhealthy amounts of NBA2k12, Halo 3 and Fallout: New Vegas. Check out more of my work at nick4iezos.com.