Microsoft’s Container Data Center Changing the Game

As Microsoft gets closer to bringing its Chicago Data Center container on line, and deploys more server containers than are used by they rest of world.  I started speculating on possible outcome as almost all the large server OEMs prepare containers of servers.  Here are a few thoughts on the subject.

  • In the past you bought a server, installed it in a rack.  You could buy a rack full of servers.  But, now you can buy a container full of servers all configure with the exact amount of power and cooling infrastructure required for the servers in the container.
  • A large portion of the power and cooling infrastructure have been packaged with the server container.  The server power and cooling infrastructure is now encapsulated as part of the container.
  • It should be much easier to deliver a power and cooling optimized environment for a container, than a typical white space.  Vendors can make the economic trade-offs of performance in all kinds areas to squeeze the best use of power and cooling energy.
  • Designs can be optimized for different costs data center CAPex costs and OPex costs.  And, could be part of the selection criteria.  Makes sense to pay more for a higher efficiency container if you higher power costs.
  • Microsoft’s strategy of having multiple servers OEMs bid on containers plays to this advantage.  And, is a disadvantage for Google as they would have built the container all on their own and kept the IP.  Which could explain Google’s decisions not to use containers. 
  • Google thinks they are smarter than the server OEMs. 
  • Microsoft thinks the server OEM ecosystem does a better job than they can when it comes to designing server HW, including the right power and cooling infrastructure.
  • As power and cooling CAPex and OPex continue to rise as a % of data center costs, it makes sense to focus on how to reduce CAPex and OPex. Compute will be a commodity, and costs need to be lowered.
  • Does this sound like Cloud Computing’s future?