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A New Type of Colocation Facility

By Steve Jones,

Many of us in the technology industry have worked with a data center of some sort. It might be a closet in our employer's building, a dedicated room with separate power and cooling, or perhaps rented space at a data center facility. In my career, I've worked with a variety of data centers over the years, and it's been interesting to watch them evolve as new knowledge and technology becomes available. 

I remember having a dedicated room so cold that I kept a coat in by cube, even during the 95F summers. These days I have space in a Denver center that has hot and cold aisles. The latter still requires me to carry a coat, but any significant amount of time in the former means I'm down to just a t-shirt.

As cloud computing grows, capacity becomes important (along with bandwidth and reliability), but the ability to scale your computing capacity up or down may be more important as your customer base grows. Microsoft is taking on this challenge and looking to build"generation 4" data centers, which may be empty buildings that have power. In some places, these data centers might just be parking lots with power feeds and a fence.

The cost of construction can be extremely high for new facilities, but imagine a section of a parking garage, or even a secured lot next to your building. A container of servers is dropped off and you connect power, network, and maybe cooling lines (or maybe no cooling). We could potentially even have containers of computing machines and containers of storage. If we ever get cloud computing software inside of companies, this might be the way in which we handle our future data center needs.

Steve Jones


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