Microsoft Building New Data Center in Wyoming

Microsoft plans to build a new data center, this time in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

It won't be considered a "mega data center," but it will cost US$112 million to build. Microsoft said initially it will employ 17 people to work there but ultimately it will need 40 people. The facility is expected to open in the spring of 2013.

Microsoft didn't say specifically which of its services it will operate from the data center, which will serve the Mountain West region for the company.

Other Microsoft data centers are located in Quincy, Washington; Chicago; San Antonio, Texas; Southern Virginia; and Dublin, Ireland. Some of the larger facilities have been estimated to cost $500 million to build. In February, Microsoft said it planned to invest an additional $130 million to expand its Dublin data center.

To encourage Microsoft to choose Wyoming, the state gave it $10 million in incentives. As much as $5 million came from the governor's data center recruitment fund and is intended to help Microsoft with infrastructure investments, said Renny MacKay, a spokesman for Governor Matt Mead. An additional $5 million came from the Wyoming Business Council, a government agency designed to support partnerships between public and private entities. That money is also intended to go toward infrastructure improvements, such as fiber connections, MacKay said.

In a statement, Mead said Wyoming is a good place for a data center location because it has affordable energy, redundant fiber optics and a cool climate.

Other companies that already have data centers in Wyoming include Echostar and Green House Data.

The new data center will help Microsoft as it shifts toward hosting more of its products, rather than selling software that customers install on their own computers. In addition to its platform-as-a-service offering, Azure, last year Microsoft began selling Office 365, a service that offers hosted email and collaboration services. It also is hoping to grow its Bing search engine, which requires data centers to serve search results to users.

Nancy Gohring covers mobile phones and cloud computing for The IDG News Service. Follow Nancy on Twitter at @idgnancy. Nancy's e-mail address is Nancy_Gohring@idg.com

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