Microsoft Continues Efficient Data Center Push in Texas
The software giant teams up with the University of Texas at San Antonio to explore environmentally friendly ways of powering data centers.As the cloud computing market grows bigger, so do the power requirements to keep it afloat. Tech companies are increasingly turning to renewables and energy-efficient technologies to decrease their reliance on old, power grids that burn fossil fuels to generate electricity. Microsoft announced April 16 that it had partnered with the University of Texas at San Antonio to help wean data centers off carbon-producing energy sources. "We are forming a three-year agreement with UTSA to research and develop distributed generation technologies that will transform how data centers consume energy," announced Brian Janous, director of Energy Strategy at Microsoft's Global Foundation Services unit. Microsoft researchers and students will be pursuing efficient "fast-start generation" technologies, he said. Fast-start generation describes energy technologies that kick in quickly when a primary power source fails or can't keep up with increased demand. Janous explained the project will look into devices like "micro-turbines to replace the diesel generators that are used during times of peak demand and grid outages."
Microsoft is also donating $1 million to the school's Texas Sustainable Energy Research Institute (SERI), which is headed by former Sandia National Lab Vice President Dr. Les Shephard. According to the group's Website, SERI provides "systems solutions that pursue novel opportunities for technology insertion to reduce costs, improve reliability and assure responsible environmental stewardship that contributes to our energy future."