Microsoft is one of the world’s leading cloud providers, so it may be odd that we on the datacenter team are working hard to make the datacenter disappear. This figurative goal guides how we design, build and operate our datacenters, and informs why we invest in cutting-edge R&D that really pushes the boundaries of what can be done with energy in a datacenter environment.
This September, we announced our latest project, the Advanced Energy Lab, here in Seattle. We debuted a pilot that radically simplified the energy supply chain by using fuel cells to power our servers. With fewer pieces in the supply chain, there are far fewer points of failure and shows the potential to nearly double the energy efficiency of datacenters. The learnings from this ‘crazy bet’ are now helping us make real-time adjustments to improve the efficacy of the pilot – not just for Microsoft’s benefit but for the whole of the datacenter industry.
I am pleased to share the news that this pilot was recently awarded the ‘Mission Critical Innovation Award’ from Datacenter Dynamics. We are flattered by the industry recognition and happy that others see the transformative potential of the project, especially as this award is given to the project that makes the most positive difference in design.
To us, it’s not about the award. What’s more meaningful is that others in the industry increasingly share our belief that we must find new and innovative ways to make datacenters more efficient and reliable. As every company becomes a software company, there is more and more data produced that must also be analyzed and served back up as insights and information. Datacenters make all this possible – and we must find ways to serve this demand reliably, globally but also sustainably.
As we look at our datacenters at Microsoft, we see not only energy needs but energy opportunities. This pushes us to rethink what’s possible, discover new optimizations and apply them in pilots and then hopefully at scale to achieve greater efficiencies and an incredibly sustainable cloud ecosystem. That’s good for our operations and our business. But it’s also valuable and important for our customers, who are increasingly looking for partners that can help them deliver on their business needs in an ethical, sustainable and reliable way.
We’re excited about the future we’re building through innovative datacenter design, and invite you to learn more about our enthusiasm and the Advanced Energy Lab project through this video of the DCD Awards and our blog post announcing the project.