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Server Farms Flourish In Iowa: Microsoft Plows $700M More Into Des Moines

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the go-big-or-go-home dept.

Microsoft 103

1sockchuck writes "A big chunk of the Azure cloud will be living on the plains of Iowa. Microsoft will invest another $700 million to expand its Iowa data center campus near Des Moines, marking the third major server farm for the state this year. Facebook recently announced a new data center in Altoona. The same day, Google said it would put another $400 million into its facility in Council Bluffs. Why Iowa? Aggressive tax incentives and a central location to bridge the distance between these companies' east and west coast server footprints."

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103 comments

Facts about Iowa (2)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44080161)

1. It smells like pig crap.

Re:Facts about Iowa (1)

iggymanz (596061) | about a year ago | (#44080171)

you'll hardly ever smell them, thanks to the sweaty corn-fed iowan women

Iowa can get very hot in summer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44081405)

They may have offered very tempting tax incentives to lure in others in building datacenters in Iowa, but I gotta tell ya, Iowa can get very hot in Summer, which means megawatt/gigawatt used for cooling alone

Anyone from Iowa ? Care to share with us how much electricity costs in Iowa ?

Re:Iowa can get very hot in summer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44081941)

Des Moines residential I pay around 8 cents per kilowatt hour except in winter after I hit 1000 it goes down to 3.2 cents per kilowatt hour. It does get very hot in the summer 85 - 105 degrees F. On the other hand, we have a very active wind farm industry.

Re:Iowa can get very hot in summer (2)

lexsird (1208192) | about a year ago | (#44082453)

You can build underground here and not worry about heat problems. In fact if you don't insulate right, you will be quivering for heat. Also, wind and solar here are easy to farm up. They make giant wind generators here, they are amazing to see the parts for them being shipped across the highways.

Latency here is good, I can use either coast's servers without hindrance to game play. Most of our rural areas have decent Internet connections, so that you can work at a high tech place, yet have a home in "Smallville" Iowa that you can upload work from or to. High tech meets antiques. My computer desk is an old beater roll top desk that I have adapted a monitor on an arm for. Best of several worlds.

Sure, the pigs smell, but unless it's a corporate farm, the hog farms aren't that big and you can pass the smell fast enough if you have to pass by one. The industrial lots on the other hand....don't be near one.

Sure we have some fat girls, but who doesn't? We also have some very athletic farm girls who are gorgeous and could probably kick your ass and out shoot most of you "city slickers." That's extreme too, but we do have some fine women. Any university town will have your head on a swivel.

Republicans probably gave away the farm in tax breaks to lure them in. The trickle down effect is better than no effect. The economy is a knife fight here if you aren't a farmer. It's a gun fight if you are a farmer.

We also have the best tasting pork or beef you will ever sink teeth into and for us locals it's cheaper and fresh. When we grill here, it's nothing short of magical. If you go to the Iowa State Fair and try some of the State's finest grilled meats, you will be ruined for life, nothing else will be that good. Stand there, with a cold beer and cry as you enjoy it, you know there will be nothing that good pass your lips again lest you return once again. There should be a law against how good it is.

We have rivers, lakes, hunting, fishing, camping all in pristine condition, with air crisp and clean.

Now if only we had government that would legalize hemp/weed we could kick start some new industries. Iowa could grow the finest hemp/weed in the universe. If you ever see a picture of it growing wild here, the hippie in you will flip out. Think Christmas tree size only 3 times as big. Hemp production alone could produce an absurd amount of hydrocarbon, the seeds from it could be like grapes that squeeze out oil, literally. It would make a great green project. I'm shocked Iowa hasn't taken the lead in strides in this aspect. We're talking a combination petroleum and fiber industry infusion into the State. Because it's so vulnerable, they could tax hell out of it and pay some bills. They don't have to beg it in like Microsoft.

Re:Iowa can get very hot in summer (2)

kelarius (947816) | about a year ago | (#44082761)

Yeah the tax breaks are great but the real reason is network infrastructure. Des Moines (and Omaha 3 hours to the west) sits on pretty much the biggest fiber crossroad in the country, which means that latency will be ridiculously low, which is very important if youre planning on having terabytes of data streaming out of your data center on a daily basis.

Re:Iowa can get very hot in summer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44082991)

Frankly I'm more concerned about the pig smell and the sweaty corn-fed women. How well established is the HVAC industry there? Is air filtering of a residence cost-prohibitive?

Re:Iowa can get very hot in summer (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year ago | (#44085141)

The pig smell is not so bad if you're not immediately downwind of a pig farm (which most of Iowa is not) and sweaty, corn-fed women are underrated. (see pics): http://image.cdnllnwnl.xosnetwork.com/pics32/640/WK/WKRHXIHUQVRQUHC.20120925204720.JPG [xosnetwork.com] http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m8591bavyu1rawnv3o1_500.jpg [tumblr.com]

Re: Iowa can get very hot in summer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44085523)

For the record, you can smoke an entire bail of wild Iowa hemp and not get high. It makes great rope but contains almost no THC.

Re:Iowa can get very hot in summer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44085925)

Just for the record, you could smoke a entire bail of Iowa wild hemp and not even get a light buzz. The wild "hemp" that grows here is most remnants of the hemp rope business. It makes great rope but contains almost no THC.

Re:Iowa can get very hot in summer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44082845)

about 5 cents a KWh

Re:Iowa can get very hot in summer (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year ago | (#44085087)

Council Bluffs is next to the Missouri river. Can anybody say, "Giant Heat Sink?" Plus, you make a side business where anglers can get precooked catfish right out of the river.

Re:Facts about Iowa (1)

tutufan (2857787) | about a year ago | (#44080291)

Legalized gay marriage in 2009. (Four years earlier than California, and counting...)

Re:Facts about Iowa (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44080879)

Actually, California did legalize it in May of 2008, but people got all huffy about that, and tried to stop it, using California's ballot process. So now that has to be voided.

And if you think Iowa wouldn't have had the same Prop 8 if that were allowed, I think you're mistaken.

Re:Facts about Iowa (1)

iggymanz (596061) | about a year ago | (#44081181)

of course, their "gayest" city, Iowa City, has a single gay bar not much bigger than a minivan. conclusion: Iowa's gay marriage law was a tourist attraction trial balloon.

Re:Facts about Iowa (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44081591)

The Iowa gays are happily married and living in comfortable houses, with yards, trees, etc. They don't need to anonymously swap bodily fluids and viruses in a 'bar scene.'

Re:Facts about Iowa (1)

osu-neko (2604) | about a year ago | (#44082053)

of course, their "gayest" city, Iowa City, has a single gay bar not much bigger than a minivan. conclusion: Iowa's gay marriage law was a tourist attraction trial balloon.

I've given up on hoping people will do the right thing for the right reasons. I'm now content when people do the right thing, regardless.

Re:Facts about Iowa (1)

GLMDesigns (2044134) | about a year ago | (#44082341)

amen

Re:Facts about Iowa (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44082749)

Sioux City has 2 gay bars (IIRC, it's where I'm from), Cedar Rapids and Des Moines have more.

Re:Facts about Iowa (1)

JustOK (667959) | about a year ago | (#44080531)

NOT TRUE! because that IS pig crap that you smell, not something that smells like it.

Re:Facts about Iowa (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44080571)

Pig crap smells like pig crap. Doesn't taste like pig crap for some reason, though.

Re:Facts about Iowa (1)

rotorbudd (1242864) | about a year ago | (#44081001)

That smell means Chops!

Re:Facts about Iowa (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about a year ago | (#44083189)

1. It smells like pig crap.

Good thing the only thing that "smells" it is the servers, and smells can't be sent through the Internet, yet.

Re:Facts about Iowa (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44086849)

only if you drive the country roads past hog farms.

of course (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44080181)

they need to do this for the NSA . More data storage capabilities to spy on everyone freely

Tax Incentives (2)

Peter 'mash' Morgan (2883713) | about a year ago | (#44080185)

I love the way that the US taxpayer subsidises these huge companies, wish the had the same here in Wales UK.

Re:Tax Incentives (2)

schwit1 (797399) | about a year ago | (#44080345)

It's a symbiotic relationship. If it works out as expected everybody in Iowa benefits.

Re:Tax Incentives (1)

khasim (1285) | about a year ago | (#44080465)

If it works out as expected everybody in Iowa benefits.

While broadly true, it is also true that the benefits will be very unevenly spread.

I'm more interested in the total square footage of these data centers and the average/median pay of the employees (also total number of employees). It is probably pays better than farming the land. But data centers usually have lots of servers and very few highly paid/skilled LOCAL workers.

Re:Tax Incentives (2)

14erCleaner (745600) | about a year ago | (#44080789)

TFA mentions $20 million in tax incentives to create 200 temporary construction jobs and 29 permanent ones. I suspect Iowa got taken here....

Some data centers are going up here in Colorado Springs, largely because of cheap electricity from the city-owned utility. Iowa also has relatively cheap power, which may have been a factor in MS's decision along with tax incentives.

Re:Tax Incentives (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about a year ago | (#44082911)

I suspect Iowa got taken here....

No one was really taken. The alternative could very well have been no jobs and no taxes (even if they are at lower rates).

Generally tax incentives are either no certain types of taxes for X years or reduced amounts of certain types of taxes for X+ years. Most likely it is the later in which less taxes overall are paid for more years. Either way, it is a win for the state because there would be none of the taxes not covered by the incentives, none of the taxes after X years and none of the less taxes for X+ years if they couldn't convince the companies to set up shop there.

Granted, there might be a looser in the deal, it would be wherever looked attractive enough to locate these facilities has the tax incentives and other things not brought the location to where it is going to be. So if that was Columbus Ohio or something, then Columbus lost out. But had the tax incentives not been present, then Iowa would have lost out.

So no one got taken, they got more then they had and more then they likely would have had if those steps weren't taken.

Oh dearie me no (4, Informative)

toby (759) | about a year ago | (#44080861)

The only metric being optimised is profit for $BIGCO's owners; the wellbeing and prosperity of Iowans is irrelevant. Ask Indian farmers how Coca-Cola bottling plants (and bottled water plants) are helping THEM.

You're aware that data centres like this employ about 50 people, right? This is not a business that sustains the local economy.

Slashdot's libertarian reptile brain really should try harder.

Re:Tax Incentives (1)

osu-neko (2604) | about a year ago | (#44082083)

It's a symbiotic relationship. If it works out as expected everybody in Iowa benefits.

That's always the propaganda. Sometimes it's even true. The occasional jackpot gives the politicians cover for continuing to engage in crony capitalism without outraging the public too much. I wouldn't even mind that if the payoff occurred more consistently (cf. my previous message about no longer caring if people do the right thing for the wrong reasons, as long as they do the right thing). As it stands, though, crony capitalism seems to cost more than it nets...

Re:Tax Incentives (1)

mjwalshe (1680392) | about a year ago | (#44084319)

I think that is the EU that provides development assistance - and Wales does get support fro larger companies playing the political game why does BT have an engineering centers in Cardiff Belfast and Glasgow?

Uh huh (2)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about a year ago | (#44080205)

Aggressive tax incentives and a central location to bridge the distance between these companies' east and west coast server footprints.

The first part is really all that mattered to them.

Come on, "bridging the distance" between the west and east coasts? We all know how fast light travels...

Re:Uh huh (-1, Flamebait)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | about a year ago | (#44080367)

When you're playing games like Quake, there's a difference between a 50ms ping and a 100ms ping. This is why Blizzard has an East Cost Server, a West Coast Server, an Asian Server and a Sea server.

Re:Uh huh (1)

osu-neko (2604) | about a year ago | (#44082115)

... Come on, "bridging the distance" between the west and east coasts? We all know how fast light travels...

When you're playing games like Quake, there's a difference between a 50ms ping and a 100ms ping.

Apparently, we don't all know how fast light travels. xD

Re:Uh huh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44082589)

If it were just a single connection from coast to coast, yeah, light travels that in 16 milliseconds, meaning you get that down to 8 max if you halve the distance by putting a location on both coasts. But you hit tons of repeaters and routing points along the way, which multiplies things by a factor of 6 or so, making it 100ms down to 50. Halving the distance can often halve the number of hops you're taking to get there. Not strictly true as things route via cost, not distance, but the general point applies.

Re:Uh huh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44086901)

You're talking about Quake and your residential DSL line. We're talking about giant fiber networks where the difference between Des Moines and LA is a single millisecond.

Re:Uh huh (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44080585)

Another "all corporations are bad!!!!oneoneone!!!!" post from another fucktard.
 
Physical location has as much to do with a network as the hardware inside of it. Fucking moron pieces of shit like you just don't see it because you don't want to see it. You're a fucking cunt.

Only 99% of them (1)

toby (759) | about a year ago | (#44080875)

n/t

Re:Uh huh (1)

westlake (615356) | about a year ago | (#44080605)

Come on, "bridging the distance" between the west and east coasts? We all know how fast light travels...

We also know that the central states are central.

That a commercially viable transcontinental infrastructure of roads, railroads and telegraph lines was in place here by1870-1880.

Re:Uh huh (1)

mattb47 (85083) | about a year ago | (#44080735)

Also throw in all the other advantages versus hosting in California, New York, or even Washington State:
Lower taxes with or without the tax incentives

More relaxed regulatory markets (this is HUGE)

Relatively cheap electrical power (although abundant hydro power makes Washington State cheapest in the nation: http://www.eia.gov/electricity/monthly/epm_table_grapher.cfm?t=epmt_5_6_a [eia.gov] -- all that rain is definitely good for something)

Relatively cheap local labor

Re:Uh huh (1)

mattb47 (85083) | about a year ago | (#44080755)

Sorry, was looking at residential power prices.
On commercial power prices, Washington falls to...3rd lowest behind #1 Idaho (more cheap hydro power), and #2 Oklahoma.
Still not a bad place to be at all.

Don't try running a datacenter in Hawaii. OUCH!

Re:Uh huh (1)

fermion (181285) | about a year ago | (#44081645)

On one hand, giving tax incentives to locate where no one want to be makes sense. Iowa is in the bottom quartile of US in terms of population density, but around the midpoint, for example, of interstate highway. While transportation of produce justifies some of that, they need some commerce to support the cost. Iowa has half the GDP per mile as, for instance, Texas.

There is also some benefit to a central location. Light takes about 5 milliseconds to travel one thousand miles. That means that maybe 5-10 milliseconds is cut by this location, which can be significant. Also, compared to California and New York, Iowa is much more stable location, in terms of geology and weather, What also might be of concern is that current missile technologies attained by rouge nations in Asia can reach California, but maybe not the Midwest.

Re:Uh huh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44085949)

We'll see how stable we are when the New Madrid faults decides to go again.

Re:Uh huh (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | about a year ago | (#44081865)

With perfect light speed transition (so not including routing and other delays) putting the server in Iowa will save 7ms ping from one coast to the other. Reality is going to be more like 15-20. I don't see that alone being worth it for the likes of facebook, but if you were running the servers for a fast paced action game it would certainly be something to think about.

Re:Uh huh (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about a year ago | (#44091487)

Ping time isn't nearly as important as the hop count and peer count. If someone in Texas tries to access your New York servers, they're probably going through the networks of half a dozen different companies, and that's half a dozen interface points that could go wrong. For a centrally-located server, there might only be two or three networks in the path, so the service is likely to be more consistent.

Why ?? (0)

tuxgeek (872962) | about a year ago | (#44080243)

I always wonder why M$ refers to their business centers as a "Campus" when it's nothing more than a factory and/or business center and/or sweat shop for programmers.

The image that comes to mind, of an M$ programming group, or "campus", or whatever you may wish to call them, is the scene from Meet the Robinsons, of the future world of Doris the Bowler Hat.

Re:Why ?? (1)

hsmith (818216) | about a year ago | (#44080327)

sweat shop for programmers

lmao, yeah - working in air conditioned buildings, generous pay, vacation, benefits - exactly like sweat shops.

I bet you also think the NBA is a modern day slave system too.

Re:Why ?? (1)

osu-neko (2604) | about a year ago | (#44082147)

I always wonder why M$ refers to their business centers as a "Campus"...

campus [noun]
...
5. a large, usually suburban, landscaped business or industrial site.

I'm going to venture a guess that when they refer to one of their business centers as a "campus", it's because it is large, possibly suburban, and landscaped.

Re:Why ?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44082351)

MS usually creates a whole campus type business area, including sports grounds, parks and food and entertainment areas, much like a University Campus. Their use of the term is actually very appropriate.

where is the talent going to come from (1)

hurwak-feg (2955853) | about a year ago | (#44080307)

quality of life indicators [cnn.com]

If you compare Des Moines to the the average of the 100 best cities this tool has data for, Des Moines has a lot of crime, terrible education, and not a lot to do. All it seems to have going for it is short commute times and a low cost of living. Even the financial incentives aren't that great in my opinion. The average home price may be $100,000, but the median familyincome is only $55,000. Considering fuel, groceries, and utilities (probably expensive because of hot summers and cold winters), probably aren't any cheaper than other cities, I doubt that $55,000 goes very far. I agree with the other posters that they are doing this because it is cheap.

Re:where is the talent going to come from (1)

stickystyle (799509) | about a year ago | (#44080457)

'where is the talent going to come from?' Local I would imagine. Since it's only going to create 29 jobs in the city, surely there are 29 local people that are qualified to work in a DC with the six colleges nearby from your cited link. I doubt anyone would want to uproot and move there that didn't have pre-exiting ties.

Re:where is the talent going to come from (1)

hurwak-feg (2955853) | about a year ago | (#44080499)

You are probably right. I'm sure they can find some people willing to stick around because of family ties.

Re:where is the talent going to come from (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44080819)

I don't know if that's a dig on us or not, but Des Moines *CONSTANTLY* ranks at the top of national lists of cities to raise a family, top in education, top in job prospects due to the large number of headquartered corporations here, etc. Iowa might have lots of corn but Des Moines is just like any other major/capital city.

Re:where is the talent going to come from (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44080935)

There are also differences in the sources of the information as to whether they are counting just the city of Des Moines, the urban area of Des Moines (the so-called Greater Des Moines), the Metropolitan Statistical Area, and the CSA. In many measurements, the actual city of Des Moines is ABSOLUTELY TERRIBLE; however, GDM, the MSA and the CSA are fantastic, even with Des Moines bringing them down. For example, Des Moines has some of the worst schools in the state, but SEP, WDM and Urbandale are among the highest.

Re:where is the talent going to come from (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44080581)

You know, they could always chose to live in one of the many suburbs of Des Moines that are in the top 100, like Ankeny (86), Urbandale (72), or Johnston (13).

http://money.cnn.com/magazines/moneymag/bplive/2011/maps/state/IA.html

IBM's All Set Up In Dubuque, IA (1)

theodp (442580) | about a year ago | (#44080441)

IBM Plans New Center in Iowa (2009) [wsj.com] : "The terms of the deal underscore how coveted new jobs are among the states at a time of rising unemployment. Iowa is paying up generously to attract the plant. Mike Blouin, president of Greater Dubuque Development Corp., said it is providing "a $55 million package." That includes an $11.7 million loan from the state that will be forgiven if IBM maintains the jobs for two years.Local community colleges will pay IBM $10 million for job training expenses for its employees. Under an Iowa program that he called unique, Mr. Blouin said the colleges sell bonds to finance the training expenses, and pay off the debt from the state income taxes generated by the trained IBM employees. In addition, the government will guarantee a $25 million loan to a local nonprofit group that will renovate the building, and lease it to IBM at what Mr. Blouin said was a "very low" rate. IBM will also receive tax credits and a 20-year tax abatement. In return, Mr. Blouin said IBM will create a $58 million a year payroll plus benefits and add to local spending."

Re:IBM's All Set Up In Dubuque, IA (2)

hurwak-feg (2955853) | about a year ago | (#44080485)

"Local community colleges will pay IBM $10 million for job training expenses for its employees" Seriously? Since colleges should have educated individuals teaching students the same skills IBM probably wants, why can't the college just put the employee in their own class at no cost? I understand there will be product specific ins and outs, but that is what documentation is for. Someone with a reasonable amount of education or experience in the field shouldn't require much training. Am I missing something or is this absurd?

$20 million dollar tax incentive (1)

innocent_white_lamb (151825) | about a year ago | (#44080463)

They get a $20 million tax refund in exchange for "creating" 29 jobs in the state.

Perhaps those 29 new employees (and the state) would be better off if the state gave each of them $689,000 and they could invest in their own new businesses instead?

Re:$20 million dollar tax incentive (1)

hurwak-feg (2955853) | about a year ago | (#44080511)

I would mod this up if I could. That is a good point.

Re:$20 million dollar tax incentive (2)

vuke69 (450194) | about a year ago | (#44080833)

No, it's a completely idiotic point.

It's $20M in taxes that they wouldn't have seen anyhow if the datacenter was built in another state. But the state gains from all the income, sales, property, etc. taxes that the employees pay.

No matter how big the tax break, it's ALWAYS a net gain to the tax base.

Re:$20 million dollar tax incentive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44080901)

Perhaps, but is it worth it when its all said and done?

Normally when these "corporate welfare" type deals are done its not just about property taxes.

Its somewhat unfair that residents of the state pay property taxes but corps are exempt. Anyhow, as i said often property tax discounts are only part of the deal with things like cheap water or electricity also thrown in. So they get the infrastructure and priority service to it (think if the state has a brownout situation the datacenter will be exempt?) but don't have to pay for any of it. But hey, they get 29 jobs and so those people can pay their taxes to pay for the infrastructure.

Its great for the corp, cheap building, cheap taxes, cheap electricity and hey, its msft so you know they need the states help to "get them on their feet".

Re:$20 million dollar tax incentive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44082549)

In addition to property taxes, it's a sale tax rebate on the construction costs. Taxes that wouldn't be paid if construction happened out of state.

The economy still gets the multiplier from the $400 million worth of construction, from which construction workers and service businesses pay income and sales taxes.

Re:$20 million dollar tax incentive (1)

hurwak-feg (2955853) | about a year ago | (#44080911)

Not necessarily. How much growth is there going to be from a data center? Giving tax breaks to businesses with more growth potential would produce bigger long term gains for the state.

Re:$20 million dollar tax incentive (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year ago | (#44082027)

No matter how big the tax break, it's ALWAYS a net gain to the tax base.

Except in the frequent case that the company winds up impacting services more than providing benefit, for example due to additional traffic and road wear.

Re:$20 million dollar tax incentive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44083975)

To be fair, a datacenter is one of the few types of businesses I can think of that will cause almost no increase in traffic or road wear - a little for construction, but essentially none on an ongoing basis.

Re:$20 million dollar tax incentive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44080761)

Agreed, Seems many states are now trying to one-up another with tax incentives to bring "high paying jobs" home. After you do the simple tax incentive / jobs calculation you gotta wonder if its not cheaper for the state to just create the jobs instead.

This place will probably be running off subsidized electricity, subsidized property taxes, etc while creating a minimal number of jobs and no secondary market.

Re:$20 million dollar tax incentive (1)

LodCrappo (705968) | about a year ago | (#44080889)

I agree it's questionable, but giving 30 people some cash to start a new business is hard to do (who gets the cash? why?) and it requires actually having the $20 million, whereas giving some big company a $20 million discount on taxes due is quite a bit easier. You also have to look at the time factor.. $20 million off taxes one year in exchange for creating 30 jobs for how many years? at some point it becomes well worth it, maybe 10 or 20 years though.

Re:$20 million dollar tax incentive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44080899)

You seem to be under the impression that laws, like tax refunds, are created for the benefit of the people, like the Iowans. This is totally false. Laws are created for the benefit of the politicians who vote for them. Just giving 29 people money doesn't buy them votes, doesn't buy them campaign contributions, and doesn't help them get any other bills passed.

Even if a politician starts out with the best of intentions to improve the lives of their constituents, as soon as they get to DC, they learn that no one will vote for anything without quid pro quo.

Re:$20 million dollar tax incentive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44081635)

That is 20 million that they would not be getting without the datacentre. It is actually a Zero cost to the state while providing employment in construction and some permanent staff, not to mention services that will be consumed. So you think they would be better off receiving no tax income with no jobs?

very good backbone (1)

awilden (110846) | about a year ago | (#44080765)

There's also the issue of the backbone that's installed. There was a very serious push by McLeod a while ago to get heaps of fiber in the ground, but much of it lay dark once it was installed. McLeod went bankrupt, but having all that fiber in the ground also has to be a consideration.

Re:very good backbone (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44084731)

McLeod got bought by Paetec, Paetec got bought by Windstream, and now I don't think there's too much of that that isn't in use.

Shit... Now where do I move? (0)

Baldrson (78598) | about a year ago | (#44080793)

I moved from California back to Iowa, where I grew up, to get away from becoming a colony of India. Now where do I move?

Re:Shit... Now where do I move? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44080963)

I moved from California back to Iowa, where I grew up, to get away from becoming a colony of India.

I thought California was becoming a colony of Mexico.

Re:Shit... Now where do I move? (1)

Baldrson (78598) | about a year ago | (#44081745)

Perhaps I should have said "Silicon Valley" instead of "California".

Re:Shit... Now where do I move? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44081185)

"Now where do I move?"

Nebraska, we're just a colony of Mexico.

Re:Shit... Now where do I move? (1)

Baldrson (78598) | about a year ago | (#44081825)

Intriguing idea. Its an engineering tradeoff:

Nebraska: Local teenage girls are being used as black tar heroin dealers vs Iowa where the person you contact to apply for energy grants from the state of Iowa is Paritosh Kasotia who assures me that the grant they gave to the ethanol plant a half mile from here to grow algae just HAD to hire folks from India and that it is wonderful because these tax dollars are going to be spent right here in Iowa by these highly skilled gifts from abroad. You see, these geniuses are are making up for the fact that Iowa's scholastic aptitude is ranked near the top of the world, if counted as a separate country, and lord knows Iowans like Norman Borlaug [wikipedia.org] just couldn't have figured out how to grow things without help from these geniuses from India. In fact, its Normal Borlaug's fault that there are so many of them so we have to find SOMEWHERE to give them jobs and, hey, Iowa fits the bill don'it?

Re:Shit... Now where do I move? (1)

theskipper (461997) | about a year ago | (#44081897)

Well, your plan made sense. There probably aren't many Indians in Sioux City.

Re:Shit... Now where do I move? (1)

Baldrson (78598) | about a year ago | (#44082163)

Does that the culture that produced guys like Noyce can have its own reservation? Can it have as much land as the Sioux?

Re:Shit... Now where do I move? (1)

osu-neko (2604) | about a year ago | (#44082275)

I moved from California back to Iowa, where I grew up, to get away from becoming a colony of India. Now where do I move?

Perhaps you should stop hating Indians so much that you feel the need to move away from them.

Re:Shit... Now where do I move? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44082433)

If Indians like living under English-derived laws so much, maybe they should have stayed a colony of England.

Re:Shit... Now where do I move? (1)

Baldrson (78598) | about a year ago | (#44082597)

Hmm... so if I don't want to live in someone else's culture -- indeed if I want to preserve the culture in which I was raised, I must hate the other's culture. Do I have that right?

Re:Shit... Now where do I move? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44084007)

Only if you're brown.

As an Iowa resident... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44080795)

I can tell you that there's a few reasons. Taxes are obviously the big one, but Iowa is also doing huge expansion of renewable energy sources, which companies love for datacenters. Des Moines is also located where two of the main US interstates (I-35 north/south, and I-80 east/west) meet, so it's a bit of a trucking hub so logistically it's probably cheaper to get stuff here. Also, Des Moines already has several large corporations that have major headquarters here (Wells Fargo, Principle Insurance, Nationwide Insurance, and more), so there's a decent workforce that's already trained to pull from. There are plenty of mainframe guys in town because those companies are headquartered here. I know we all joke about COBOL being a dead language, but I got a job offer from the head of the tech division for a major insurance company while going to a local community college because he was the COBOL instructor and was trying to groom future talent.

And what will power it? (1)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | about a year ago | (#44080847)

Re:And what will power it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44081125)

We have to use up all the fossil fuels before the alternatives become sufficiently economically viable. In the end, they will all be used up, right? So sooner is better than later. Whatever fossil fuels we don't use, China and India will use.

Re:And what will power it? (1)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | about a year ago | (#44081417)

shut up, troll.

Re:And what will power it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44081811)

What does an article about a Microsoft datacenter in Des Moines have to do with China or India?

Re:And what will power it? (1)

osu-neko (2604) | about a year ago | (#44082293)

We have to use up all the fossil fuels before the alternatives become sufficiently economically viable. In the end, they will all be used up, right? So sooner is better than later.

That would be true if they didn't have other important non-fuel uses, and if using them has no environmental impact. Alas, neither of these things are true.

Whatever fossil fuels we don't use, China and India will use.

Not if better alternatives become more widespread. I don't know about India, but the Chinese are starting to scream about environmental issues loud enough that even a totalitarian government can't ignore it.

Re:And what will power it? (1)

CodeBuster (516420) | about a year ago | (#44083013)

the Chinese are starting to scream about environmental issues loud enough that even a totalitarian government can't ignore it.

Have you thought about what their response might be? Do you think it will involve listening to these people and actually making reforms or will they instead be rounded up and sent for reeducation through labor? I'm guessing it will be the later and not the former.

farms in Iowa (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44081725)

headline made me chuckle. when i saw the word farm i thought of cows and rows of corn. no offense to anyone in the hawkeye state. i'm sure Iowa has more than agriculture farms in your fine state. didn't realize that Iowa has any hightech firms or datacenters in their state. learned something new. guess the datacenters will be in a non-discript building in a suburb of a big city just minutes away from an agriculture field. actually, i think the area around Des Monies is kinda built up.

Re:farms in Iowa (1)

osu-neko (2604) | about a year ago | (#44082307)

Expect more of this. When the nature of an industry means it doesn't really depend on local geography, resources, or much in the way of population, so you can really locate it anywhere you can get power and a data trunk... suddenly some otherwise undistinguished location in the middle of nowhere becomes a perfect location.

Azure has been killing it! (1)

elabs (2539572) | about a year ago | (#44082417)

Azure has made some incredible strides in recently months. They announce new features almost every week. I can't wait to see more at Build 2013. My company has slowly been moving more and more resources into Azure and out of our own datacenters.

Re:Azure has been killing it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44082835)

You might well be right about that and if that's the case i'd be happy to agree.

But what does Azure do exactly ? An why do you need it ? How is that any better than the $50/100mbps linux box I've been renting for the pas decade ? ( the same goes for EC2 and the likes...)

Green energy (1)

worldthinker (536300) | about a year ago | (#44084459)

Iowa has huge amounts of wind energy to power those servers.

Milliseconds and Wind Turbines (1)

aisnota (98420) | about a year ago | (#44084977)

Quantum Communications is the technology that games changes the current physics everyone! So Iowa wii retain the millisecond advantage despite your thoughts.

Iowa has clear footprints from a dominate market share situation.

Of the major cloud players or economic participants:
1. Google
2. Facebook
3. IBM Dubuque and yet to be announced
4. Microsoft
5. Terremark TDS

Absent but probably wondering or searching for Iowa locations:
1. Rackspace
2. Apple
3. Amazon
4. Hewlett Packard and its EDS division with Des Moines hub now

Iowa counts on a per capita basis number 1 in wind power.

Per capita basis data center builds also close or at #1 also, the digital computer or ABC was invented in Iowa so perhaps this is a punctuation mark from that historical fact.

Downside, well site selection will shrink as each new major entrant comes into play.

Des Moines (1)

ChrisLeif (67430) | about a year ago | (#44087173)

In towns in central Iowa there's a standard saying about Des Moines: "They ruined seven or eight good farms when they built Des Moines."

facebook built $450 Mil Datacenter in Western Iowa (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44087639)

facebook had already built $450 Mil Datacenter in Western Iowa

I think they are building DataCenters in Iowa because Iowa is the 2nd leading Wind Energy state in the Country behind California and the owners of the DataCenters can get tax credits for using the green energy.

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