Microsoft Projects Big Investments for Windows Azure

ComputerWorld’s Eric Lai reports on a PDC session by Ben Ravani.

Microsoft to support Windows Azure with massive data center investments

Company is building out a cloud computing infrastructure to top rivals, Google and

By Eric Lai

October 27, 2008 (Computerworld) Despite the economic downturn,Microsoft Corp. intends to ramp up the number of servers running in its data centers worldwide by 15 times over the next 5 years.

The growth, outlined in a presentation on Monday at its Professional Developers Conference, is designed to handle increased hosted computing demand from enterprise software running on its new Windows Azure platform, also announced today, as well as third-party services Microsoft hopes to attract.

Microsoft expects to boost the number of data centers it operates by three times, its power usage by 15 times, and the Internet traffic going out of its data centers by nine-fold, said Benjamin Ravani, general manager of Microsoft's Global Foundation Services, during a technical session.

There have been reports of cutbacks in a financial review.

Microsoft had announced similar growth projections earlier this year. But Ravani's reiteration of those comments come a week after Redmond announced plans to tighten its fiscal belt, including cutting $500 million in spending this fiscal year by slowing hiring and cutting travel and marketing expenses.

But, Microsoft is still focused on its battle with Google and Amazon.

Despite its belated arrival to so-calledcloud computing services, Microsoft appears to be sparing no dime on building out a back-end infrastructure that tops competitors such as Inc., Google Inc. Inc.

Microsoft has announced five data centers in the past 12 months, including in San Antonio, Tx., Chicago, Il. and Des Moines, Ia. Both its Chicago and Des Moines data centers will be massive, $500 million facilities that will have many of its servers pre-configured and installed in shipping containers.

Investing in a big way now, Microsoft has argued, will save money later.