Microsoft to invest $140mn in San Antonio campus expansion
Microsoft is planning to undertake a major expansion of its data centre campus in San Antonio, Texas. A new filed on March 29 with the Texas Department of Licensing and Registration shows that Microsoft will spend $140mn to build a new, 79,385 square foot data centre on its existing campus in San Antonio, Texas.
The new facility, located in the Texas Research Park Campus, where Microsoft already owns 158 acres of land, and reportedly intends to invest $1bn in the construction of 1mn square feet of data centre space. There are currently under development across the Texas Research Park Campus, which began construction in 2018 and are scheduled for completion in 2023. Each building has an approximate footprint of 225,000 square feet.
Microsoft spun up its Azure Cloud region in the Southern US in 2008, and offers access to three availability zones. The expansion of the Microsoft South Central region comes just a few weeks after Microsoft announced a new data centre region in Atlanta with the same layout and pattern of three facilities spread across two counties.
This latest addition to its San Antonio operations would appear to be a supplemental project, likely pushed forward in response to more immediate demand for cloud services across Texas and the surrounding states.
This latest development phase is expected to begin construction in May of this year and come online in February of 2022, further adding to Microsoft’s significant presence in the city. Currently, Microsoft is advertising four open jobs in its San Antonio data centre business, including a Data Centre Technician role that was posted two days after the company filed its project planning documents with the Texas Government.
San Antonio is fast becoming a hub for leading data centre operators looking to bolster cloud regions across Texas. CyrusOne already operates several data centres in San Antonio, and Amazon Web Services is reportedly planning to bring three new hyperscale cloud facilities online in the city by the end of 2021.
The design of the new project is being undertaken by North Carolina-based firm Phillips Architecture. The company has worked with Microsoft before, although this appears to be the first data centre the company will deliver for the tech and cloud giant.
Microsoft’s record with contractors in San Antonio is spotty. In 2020, local construction company Rogers-O'Brien Construction sued Microsoft over allegedly unpaid fees for data centre work in the area. The withheld fees, according to the suit filed by Rogers-O'Brien Construction, amounted to more than $34mn.
Schneider Electric reveals new IT Innovation report
Schneider Electric has released a new IT innovations report titled “Digital Economy and Climate Impact”, with the aim of gaining an understanding of how digitised and smart applications will be powered in the future. The company says that the report predicts that IT sector-related electricity demand is expected to increase by almost 50% by 2030.
Despite this, the report also shows that emissions would not increase by more than 26% by the same year, following the decarbonisation of the electricity system. In an attempt to reduce this rise in emissions the Schneider Electric TM Sustainability Research Institute recommends continued efforts in achieving efficiencies on the IT and energy sides at both the component and system levels.
The report highlights how the rise of edge computing technologies require a “specific focus” due to these systems being less efficient than hyperscale data centres. “When the world locked down, it also logged on and internet traffic soared,” said Pankaj Sharma, EVP, Secure Power, Schneider Electric.
“It’s misleading to assume that digital activity will inevitably result in a deeply problematic increase in CO2 emissions. The analysis from the Schneider Electric Sustainability Institute puts to rest many of the worst-case scenario claims predicting IT-related electricity use will double every five years. That said, as an industry, we must remain vigilant in finding new sources of sustainability gains while ensuring resiliency as digital keeps life moving forward”, he added.
As well as the release of the report, Schneider Electric also announced several updates to its EcoStruxure IT data center infrastructure management software, Galaxy VL 3-phase uninterruptable power supply (UPS), introducing an industry-leading single-phase UPS, the APC™ Smart-UPS™ Ultra. All introductions are designed to advance the industry forward in meeting sustainability goals while increasing the resiliency of IT and data centre infrastructure, the company said.
Managing hybrid data center and edge IT environments
Also showcased in Schneider Electric’s report are the increasing demands on digital consumption. According to the company, these create a more complex hybrid environment inclusive of enterprise, cloud, and edge data centres. Addressing the unique management challenges of a hybrid IT environment, Schneider Electric has announced updates to its EcoStruxure IT software to increase efficiency and resiliency, including:
- Increased remote management capabilities: New granular remote device configuration features enable users to change configurations on one or more devices – including the new Galaxy VL and APC Smart-UPS Ultra single-phase UPS units – from one centralised platform with EcoStruxure IT Expert. This update, combined with previously released software insights on device security health, enables the user to identify faulty devices or configurations and address them in a matter of clicks, keeping their hybrid IT environment secure.
- Improved environmental monitoring: Environmental monitoring systems ensure users have eyes and ears on data centre and IT deployments from anywhere, anytime. With this update, users can push mass configurations remotely for NetBotz cameras 750 and 755 quickly and efficiently increasing security across the critical infrastructure.
- Enhanced remote capacity modeling and planning: With EcoStruxure IT Advisor’s new capabilities, users can remotely compare an unlimited number of racks and easily identify available capacity, view what assets are deployed and their dependencies.
Sharma concluded: “Schneider Electric has been focused on sustainability for the past 15 years and was recently named the most sustainable corporation in the world. We have embraced the mindset that future innovation will deliver better efficiency across the broader connectivity landscape. By making smart intentional choices, our industry can help mitigate how much electricity and emissions result from the rising appetite for digital technologies”.