Microsoft has confirmed that it is getting ready to build a data center on land that the company is now in the midst of buying in Quincy, Wash. where the company already operates a modular computing facility. The 200-acre site will cost Microsoft $11 million and is expected to produce 100 full-time jobs. Construction starts in the spring.
But the interesting part is that even at this early stage it has the makings of a green data center. GeekWire’s Blair Hanley Frank lets us in on what makes Quincy a tempting location for cloud service providers. Here’s a hint: renewable energy.
Quincy is a particularly popular location for data centers, in part because the town’s power comes from a pair of hydroelectric dams along the Columbia River, at a time when companies are searching for sustainable ways to power their server farms.
A super fast fiber optic Internet backbone courtesy of Level 3 sweetens the deal. These factors also help explain why Yahoo, Dell and Intuit have also set up shop in Quincy.
But not everyone is thrilled with Microsoft building a massive new cloud data center in the area, regardless of the company’s efforts to clean up its act by, among other measures, building energy-efficient IT facilities. Janet I. Tu of The Seattle Times reports:
While that has provided a boost to Quincy’s economy, some residents have raised concerns that the server farms, with their diesel-powered backup generators, may pollute the air and could increase cancer risk for nearby residents. At least 141 diesel-powered generators are being built around Quincy, according to a Seattle Times story by reporter Craig Welch, who took a look at the issue here and here.
What’s more, some complain about a lack of transparency. “The data center opponents say they still can’t get electronic records from Microsoft or any other data center for the dates, times of day, engine loads and run times for the diesel generators to assure the data centers are operating under the terms of their permits,” said the report.
Image credit: Microsoft