Microsoft Bringing 35 Megawatts on-line

Microsoft announced yesterday that it was planning to bring both Chicago and Dublin online next month. Chicago is initially to be a 30MW critical load facility with a plan to build out to a booming 60MW. 2/3 of the facility is a high scale containerized facility. It’s great to see the world’s second modular data center going online (See for details on an earlier Google facility).

The containers in Chicago will hold 1,800 to 2,500 servers each. Assuming 200W/server, that’s 1/2 MW for each container with 80 containers on the first floor and a 40MW container critical load. The PUE estimate for the containers is 1.22 which is excellent but it’s very common to include all power conversions below 480VAC and all air moving equipment in the container as critical load so these data can end up not mean much. See: for more details on why a better definition of what is infrastructure and what is critical load is needed.

Back on April 10th, Data Center Knowledge asked Is Microsoft still committed to containers? It looks like the answer is unequivocally YES!

Dublin is a non-containerized facility initially 5MW with plans to grow to 22MW as demand requires it. The facility is heavily dependent on air-side economization which should be particularly effective in Dublin.

More from:

· Microsoft Blog:

· Data Center Knowledge:

· MJF:

James Hamilton, Amazon Web Services

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2 comments on “Microsoft Bringing 35 Megawatts on-line
  1. Good hearing from you Mike. Your definition of a "real" modular data center isn’t a bad one. I can go for that. Defining a true modular system to be one that ships loaded rather than is being assembled on site seems reasonable. I don’t actually know that Google did assemble on site but I agree its certainly possible.

    When we learn more about the Chicago deployment, we may conclude that the Chicago facility is the first at-scale containerized deployment. Either way, I’m excited by it happening. Its great to see serious investments in modular data centers.


  2. Mike Manos says:


    Think its great that Microsoft is deploying two containerized data centers and happy to see they are still on track and strategy. I think its a bit unfair to call it the second containerized facility as the Google facility really cant be defined as "containers" in the modular sense. I think the Google representation of containers is a great example of containment using enclosed structures for electricity/temperature optimization. Those structures were built in place and required routine servicing from technicians. It has little in common with the mobile and low to no maintenance models being adopted by others. Dont get me wrong I applaud the Google effort and it definitely shows there is movement for large scale players to adopt this technology approach. I just think its a bit apples and persimmons. They are both red and have seeds, but they taste much different. The Google approach to me is more about the containment (ala a rack+chimey scheme over a larger unit). It doesnt have the mobility component. I would also guess the financial treatment of the two approaches (ie how they are capitalized) is much different as well.

    Your friend,


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