MS Turns on San Antonio Data Center.

The power was turned on yesterday.  See the below article from

Microsoft Corp.'s most technologically advanced data center opens today in Westover Hills.

It's a massive $550 million, 470,000-square-foot building that will contain thousands of computer servers, which will begin serving up e-mail, Web pages, pictures, software applications and videos to customers online.

“San Antonio is a key hub for Microsoft in its North American distribution system,'' said Mike Manos, Microsoft's senior director of data center services.

Microsoft has built two nearly identical buildings under one roof on its 44-acre site. The servers in the first building go live today. The second half of the building is almost done, Manos said. It's expected to be complete within the next few months, he said.

Microsoft's facility with 75 employees also has helped to ignite a data center building boom in Westover Hills. Six other companies — Frost, PowerLoft, Stream Realty, Lowe's Corp., Valero Corp. and Christus Health — have projects under way or planned there.

“In general, we'll be a key player in the growth of the Internet and related businesses, and Microsoft makes that possible,'' said Mario Hernandez, president of the San Antonio Economic Development Foundation.

Since Microsoft announced in January 2007 plans to build its project here, interest in San Antonio as a site for data centers has skyrocketed, Hernandez said.

“We're still getting the attention of data center projects throughout the country,'' he said. “We've got another data center project visiting next week. It's the exception to the slowdown we are seeing in corporate site selection.”

That's because all kinds of businesses need a data center.

“What you are really seeing today is the birth of the information utility,'' Manos said.

Data centers consumed 1.5 percent of all electricity in the U.S. in 2006, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. And power demand is growing at 12 percent year. It predicts 10 more power plants will be needed to meet the demand of the data center industry by 2011. The federal government is working with data center operators on improving energy efficiencies in the center.

“If you walk into a data center today, it's probably not that fundamentally different than a data center from 10 to 15 years ago,” Manos said.

Except that Microsoft has software and proprietary layout plans that maximize its energy use and ensures uninterrupted delivery of services, Manos said.

“Power and energy are going to become a primary concern,'' Manos said

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