Few Data Center Jobs Coming to Siberia (Phew)

By Deb Perelman  |  Posted 2007-11-27 Print this article Print

As it battles competitors such as Google and Yahoo for Web-bases services, Microsoft has continually expanded its Internet infrastructure through the construction of data centers around the world.

In May 2006, it broke ground on a 75-acre data center in Quincy, Wash.; in January 2007, Microsoft announced a 44-acre data center in San Antonio; in November, plans for a $500 million data center in Northlake, Ill. were disclosed. Its first plans for a European data center—an approximately 12-acre facility in Dublin—were also announced earlier this month.

However, Microsoft's most recent data center plans may also be the oddest: Siberia. Though Microsoft has not yet made a final decision as to the location, the city of Irkutsk has been mentioned more than once. With a population of half a million, it is one of the largest cities in Siberia.

So why is Microsoft choosing a barely-habitable former exile colony? Some say it's the stable and low-cost power supply in the area. Others feel that Microsoft wants a better foothold in the region.

One thing that is clear: data centers rarely mean the creation of new jobs. Nick Carr, the famed author of "Does IT Matter?" was quick to note that the announced Chicago facility is expected to employ less than 50 people.

With below freezing temperatures for more than half of the year [insert your best data center cooling joke here], it's just as well in this case.

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