Microsoft Launches Next Generation Data Center in Des Moines, IA – Winning the Data Center PR War?

Microsoft officially announced its choice of Des Moines, IA to launch its next generation data center. News coverage is all over the web.

Here is the video from DesMoinesRegister

The one thing interesting about this announcement is a normal PR event would be the ground breaking where a handful of local officials and company executives smile while holding a shovel of dirt.

But, Microsoft has been able to escalate the status of a data center to a state press release. With logo’d cupcakes to honor the event.


There are tons of press coverage and the blogs have picked up on the Iowa data center as well. Contrast this with Microsoft’s Windows Vista PR team hiring Jerry Seinfeld to get visibility and credibility in the market. A little ironic Microsoft hires a comedian to get respect.

As DataCenterKnowledge wrote about the economic benefits of Google vs. Microsoft. Iowa is the new test area.

Many state and local governments have passed tax incentives to attract a Google data center, hoping it will convert struggling regions into high-tech hubs. It's part of a trend in which more economic development agencies are pursuing data center projects. There's no question that favorable environments can create data center clusters, a trend seen in many technology corridors. But here's the secret: If you're focused on developing a data center cluster in your area, you should be chasing Microsoft, not Google.

My vote is Microsoft will win the Iowa PR data center PR war because:

  1. Microsoft is sharing its data center best practices and the data center industry recognizes this effort.
  2. Microsoft’s Des Moines data center is the launch site for its latest generation of data center design.
  3. Microsoft will hire within the state of Iowa.  Google’s Council Bluffs location will have a large percentage of construction workers and employees coming from Omaha Nebraska.  Why should the state Iowa give tax incentives to help the state of Nebraska? It is only a matter of time before the Iowa tax payers protest Google’s tax breaks.
  4. When you look at the map below showing Chicago, Des Moines, and Council Bluffs. A question comes up why would Microsoft build data centers so close to each other? I have my own theories what Microsoft will do.  These  Microsoft guys are smart.


> map

Will there be containers in Des Moines?  ComputerWorld’s Eric Lai says yes.

A Microsoft spokeswoman confirmed that Microsoft plans to house the servers in shipping containers but declined to comment specifically on the size of the facility or the number of servers to be located there.

"We are still in the process of completing the design of the center. Once that is finalized, we will have an estimate for these questions," she wrote via e-mail.

However, Microsoft said its $500 million, 550,000-square-foot data center in Chicago will house up to 220 containers, each filled with as many as 2,000 servers, or 440,000 servers. The software maker said the server-filled containers are easier to transport, set up and maintain than servers on conventional racks, though not all observers agree.

It takes 5 hours to drive a container between Chicago and Des Moines. How’s that for a disaster recovery plan?

One funny thing about this picture


is Gov Chet Culver looks taller and bigger than Mike who is a big guy. Looking up the gov is an college football player so he is probably bigger than Mike.  The gcod thing I found is the governor has an interest in Green.

Culver began his career as an environmental and consumer advocate in the Iowa Attorney General’s Office.

We can expect Microsoft’s Data Center to be as green as can be. There is no hydroelectric for carbon neutral power, but 20% of the power is reported to be coming from renewables.