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Microsoft Plans Data Center in Siberia

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the so-many-jokes dept.


miller60 writes "Microsoft has announced plans to build a data center in Siberia. The facility near the city of Irkutsk will be able to hold 10,000 servers. Officials in Microsoft's Russian business unit said the region had a stable power supply, and will be able to support a 50 megawatt utility feed. The average winter temperature is below zero in Irkutsk (which is perhaps best known to gamers as a territory in Risk). Microsoft recently announced huge data center projects in Chicago and Dublin, Ireland, and is clearly ramping up its worldwide infrastructure platform as it competes with Google." No doubt this will save a fortune on cooling costs- they can just crack a window.

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Interesting (5, Funny)

Panaqqa (927615) | more than 6 years ago | (#21478537)

I guess Ballmer's not satisfied anymore with throwing chairs at people. He's decided to add Siberian exile to the mix.

Crack a window? (5, Funny)

pegr (46683) | more than 6 years ago | (#21478581)

I thought Windows was already cracked.... /oblig. Sorry, somebody had to say it...

Re:Interesting (1)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 6 years ago | (#21479211)

Finally, a gulgag for "undesireable" Microsoft employees.

"Reduce your bug count or we're shipping you off to Siberia."

Re:Interesting (1)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 6 years ago | (#21479265)


Re:Interesting (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 6 years ago | (#21479429)

No, it's just because property values aren't quite as prohibitive as Redmond. I understand you can get a nice starter home in Siberia for less than $950k.

Plus there's less chance of their employees driving down to Cupertino to take a better job.

Data security? (3, Insightful)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 6 years ago | (#21479439)

While your comment was intended as a joke, off shoring data centers in other countires (i.e. US data in the FSU or chinese data in the US) has some interesting possibilities besides exiling employees. Do they have to abide by US laws for that data? Do they have to hand it over to the Siberian state police on demand or reveal the accounts of dissidents putin is trying to crush? Can they encrypt data or will that run afoul of ITAR laws in both host and owner companies?

Additionally, recall that last year Russia and Georgia withheld Gas to western europe in an after the fact, gun to the head, negotiation to raise prices. There are no so abundant gas resources that it is so fungible that one can switch suppliers. The same is true of data centers. Will some future event cause Siberia to turn off the Internet router and demand more money?

Stable Power Supply? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21479571)

"Officials in Microsoft's Russian business unit said the region had a stable power supply, and will be able to support a 50 megawatt utility feed."

MS is more concerned about a stable power supply in Soviet Russia? Shouldnt they be more concerned about a stable OS?

In Soviet Russia... (4, Funny)

OhHellWithIt (756826) | more than 6 years ago | (#21478547)

... data center cools you.

Re:In Soviet Russia... (1)

Atlantic Wall (847508) | more than 6 years ago | (#21478613)

Damn you! You guys are too fast.

Save money (0, Redundant)

eightball01 (646950) | more than 6 years ago | (#21478553)

They won't even need air conditioning. Just leave a door open.

Re:Save money (4, Interesting)

arivanov (12034) | more than 6 years ago | (#21478691)

When people think of Siberia, they think only of the winter. Well, it actually has a summer as well with up to +30C. It is the so called extreme continental climate which only Russia has - down to -40C winter, +36 in the middle of summer.

I would not want to design the cooling/heating system for a datacenter to cope with that.

Also, where are they going to get the fiber to hook the thing up? It is not like there is plenty of abundant network infrastructure there.

Re:Save money (5, Informative)

Nos. (179609) | more than 6 years ago | (#21478847)

The Canadian prairies can hit those extremes as well. We have lots of server rooms in this area of the world. Considering we've been dealing with these temperature fluxuations for a long time, we've learned how to deal with them. We're warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Its not really that tough. Insulation works both ways.

Re:Save money (3, Funny)

Entropius (188861) | more than 6 years ago | (#21478891)

You, however, are Canadians, and fairly smart.

It's only a short step from Vancouver to Washington, but -- trust me -- the monkeys in Redmond aren't as bright.

Re:Save money (3, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#21478967)

Seems to me that operating in those conditions would be better than operating in California. Where it's 30 degrees in the summer, and 15 degrees in the winter. They would need cooling pretty much year round. Whereas in Edmonton or Siberia, they would only need cooling for half of the year.

Re:Save money (1)

thegnu (557446) | more than 6 years ago | (#21478989)

We're warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Its not really that tough. Insulation works both ways.

Yeah, but I think the stuff's way too creepy to use. For example, how it know what to keep out? How? Tell me.

Re:Save money (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#21478895)

My guess is that they will look for a site near a river. The water in the river well tend to always be on the cold side. The key is that there is probably a lot of cheap power from "stranded" natural gas near the site and the land is really cheap.
I have heard that Siberia has a lot of tech. My guess is that Siberia was the USSRs New Mexico. A remote place full of high tech.

Re:Save money (1)

Calinous (985536) | more than 6 years ago | (#21479133)

Yes, just that there is less technology overall, and much much more space.
      Nobody went to Syberia by his/her own accord/desire. That place was far away (until Aeroflot introduced flights to those places), and winter is freezing

Re:Save money (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#21479355)

I would say that under estimating Russian tech is really a big mistake.
They have had free access to Western sources now for many years. They spent decades doing more with less and now have access to a lot of US high tech.

Re:Save money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21478957)

The coldest parts of Sibera can go down to the -70*C, and in some areas there can be a temperature range over 100*C between winter and summer. This is why Russian cars have the best air conditioning - it's a matter of life and death. Below 50*C can be very, very scary to be in. The warmer parts of Antarctica have a very tame climate in comparison.

Re:Save money (1)

rolfc (842110) | more than 6 years ago | (#21479147)

Yes, when it is below 50*C, you can't even keep the tent warm, to get a good nights sleep. You have to go out and chop firewood to keep the warmth. That is my experince from the once Swedish Army.

You have to be specific ... try Oymyakon (1)

pbhj (607776) | more than 6 years ago | (#21479047)

Excerpt from: []

"The Northern part of Russia

The northern part of Russia from the Kola Peninsula to the island of Sakhalin is in the sub arctic climatic zone, which features are a long and cold winter and a short but warm summer. Within this zone, in Jakutiya, is the town of Oymyakon, where the absolute minimum of temperature (-71 C) for the northern hemisphere of the Earth has been observed. There the average temperature of January is -49 C, of July 15 C."

But it does appear that even Oymyakon - the coldest permanently inhabited place (there's an antarctic ice station that's colder) - can have summer temps of +25degC.

Re:Save money (1)

Calinous (985536) | more than 6 years ago | (#21479103)

Plenty of places have that extreme continental climate - just that the winters are not so cold (the summers can be hotter than that).
      Designing cooling/heating systems for Syberia are not so different than for other places - especially when the temperature change is slow (seasonal)

Re:Save money (1)

Creepy (93888) | more than 6 years ago | (#21479527)

Incidentally, I was going to point out that Siberia has the highest temperature variance in the world, but you did first. Russia is not alone in extreme continental cooling/heating, however, as many regions [] that border the tropical and arctic border also have high variance. In fact, Minnesota in midwestern North America has an average temperature variance only .6C less than Siberia, as I recall (ranking #2).

As far as extreme cold goes, Siberia easily beats any non-arctic competitors, with one city recording a record low of -71C. I don't believe it ever gets close to 36C in that town, however, probably much closer to the near arctic Canadian mining town I stayed in for a summer as a kid (my mom's best friend taught elementary school there) - highs were lucky to break into double digits in July and the record high was, I believe, 17C.

Re:Save money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21479231)

Heating/Cooling costs of the living facilities for the engineers will not be cheap in the extreme temps of that area

Re:Save money (1)

ajs318 (655362) | more than 6 years ago | (#21479793)

If it's a Microsoft data centre, it'll most probably be running Windows -- in which case, the only "engineering" work to be done will be occasionally to power-cycle one of the machines when it misbehaves. There are businesses in the Third World where they have trained monkeys to do that, but I'm sure Microsoft will be able to afford a shiny GUI-based "virtual fusebox" application, allowing the power to any socket to be cut and restored from anywhere in the world.

Alternatively, if they're machines Microsoft wants to use for anything far too important to trust to Windows, they'll be running FreeBSD -- in which case, the only "engineering" work to be done will be occasionally replacing truly-dead machines with new ones.

In soviet Siberia (1)

BeoCluster (995566) | more than 6 years ago | (#21478557)

Microsoft builds you

This is where Google defectors will go... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21478563)

"So Bob, we hear you're thinking about taking a job with Google. That's great. But, we'd like to make you an offer to stay. Just put this blindfold on, and we'll take you on a short plane ride to your new office. We believe you'll end up staying the rest of your life."

Oh no! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21478577)

They're after our "cold as a witch's titties on Halloween" technology!

Why Minnesota & not Siberia? Oh, right, cheap labor & negligible taxes.

That is until... (-1, Offtopic)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 6 years ago | (#21479183)

you piss off putin or start making money. Putin is a lot like MS; if he thinks that you are making a lot more money, then he will come after you. It is exactly what they did to a number of oil men and oil projects. I suspect that if USA pisses off Putin's ppl, we may see companies like MS picked off.

Re:That is until... (1)

djones101 (1021277) | more than 6 years ago | (#21479371)

And that's a bad

too cold (1)

javilon (99157) | more than 6 years ago | (#21478597)

I am not sure computers work well below -10 degrees celsius :-)

Re:too cold (4, Insightful)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 6 years ago | (#21478755)

1) Siberia gets a lot colder than -10C. -10C is 14F. That's not cold at all -- a -10C winter day in Virginia wouldn't be considered all that odd.

2) As long as you don't get a frost buildup, solid-state electronics will generally work just fine in cold environments. Hard drives *might* have some mechanical difficulties if you take them really far below zero, and laptop batteries tend to have a tough time maintaining a charge in the cold. Apart from that, though, you could probably let it get that cold without worrying about the servers themselves. However, the admins running the servers might mutiny if you subject them those sorts of conditions ;-)

3) The servers aren't going to be outdoors. Duh.

Re:too cold (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#21478997)

The biggest problem at that temperature wouldn't be the cold, but condensation. If you have any techs in the room, just breathing is going to make the air quite moist.

Re:too cold (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#21479005)

I am not sure computers work well below -10 degrees celsius :-)
Microsoft should build a datacenter around here. Where I'm at it's currently 75 degrees F and sunny. We're looking at a high of 80, very slight chance of rain. Of course, I live near Tampa, FL. :D

Re:too cold (1)

Calinous (985536) | more than 6 years ago | (#21479205)

Yes, that's why overclocking works best with externally heated processors.

      There are plenty of problems in sub-zero temperatures - but electronics love it. The fastest processors run cooled with liquid nitrogen. I don't think Siberia is so cold that the nitrogen in air liquefies

Meh (4, Funny)

JoeCommodore (567479) | more than 6 years ago | (#21478601)

Anyone who knows would start building up their data centers in Australia as you can get the whole area and it's an easily defensible region which will increase your build stats. Then wait till after the other data centers fight it out in Asia and Europe you move in and take over.

Re:Meh (1)

g4b (956118) | more than 6 years ago | (#21478971)

Maybe microsoft gets two customers extra when they reveal their new triple-bound-office-product in the next round, you'll never know!

However, I would have built it in Kamchatka, and named the next Windows Version after it.

Unfortunately we are still at Windows "V" after "X", and since everything goes backwards for "backwards compatibility", the letter "K" for a windows version is still far away... so it will be "Windows Uran", which, closing the circle, happens to be found in Siberia!

Now try to beat this tactics!

Re:Meh (1)

Elemenope (905108) | more than 6 years ago | (#21479023)

You joke, but it kind of creeps me out just how "world domination'-y this Google/Microsoft data center rush is. I mean, people around here bitch about barriers to market entry in things like phone or ISP service; the information-collator business will make competition costs in those businesses look like setting up competing lemonade stands by comparison.

These guys are playing Risk for ten, perhaps twenty years from now (banking of course on the world not ending in fire by 2020; then again, what do you have to lose if you're wrong?) and nobody else is even on the field. Is there even anybody who is the Risk version of Australia here who is quietly building data centers that nobody's paying attention to, waiting for the giants to beat each other to death?

Clearly (1)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 6 years ago | (#21478615)

This is just so they can threaten to ship out unruly employees ;^)

An honest question. (3, Insightful)

SlipperHat (1185737) | more than 6 years ago | (#21478621)

Not to troll, but why is this news? What is newsworthy about a company expanding into another country? You could say "Oh it's Siberia!", but Siberia is a place like any other.

Re:An honest question. (1)

hbean (144582) | more than 6 years ago | (#21478767)

Because the company is microsoft, and the place is siberia...its like the odd couple with computers...and tundras.

Re:An honest question. (4, Interesting)

glop (181086) | more than 6 years ago | (#21478833)

Well, I found the news interesting. I wouldn't want a report for every data center but I find that this kind of information is newsworthy because:
  - it involves a lot of computers
  - Microsoft comes from a shrinkwrap background not online business
  - Siberia summons images of cold, wild, hostile environments
  - This is a datacenter far from where most of the users live and is therefore an interesting consequence of the Internet

So I mod the article up any day and welcome our Siberian overlords.

Re:An honest question. (1)

papasui (567265) | more than 6 years ago | (#21478841)

We must stop the traitor dog Kasparov at any cost!

An honest answer (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 6 years ago | (#21478853)

Because a corporation the size of Mr. Softy is going to have very interesting interactions with a country which casually tosses opposition political leaders in jail: []
A cage match featuring Ballmer and his chair of choice against Vladimir might be interesting, if brief:

Currently, Putin is a black belt (6th dan) and is best known for his Harai Goshi (sweeping hip throw). Vladimir Putin is Master of Sports (Soviet and Russian sport title) in Judo and Sambo. After a state visit to Japan, Putin was invited to the Kodokan Institute where he showed the students and Japanese officials different judo techniques. []
Nifty photo collection: []

Re:An honest answer (1)

Yetihehe (971185) | more than 6 years ago | (#21479743)

So it's not so bad. Putin is a ninja and Ballmer fights pirates. They are natural allies.

Re:An honest question. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21478857)

Are you really that fucking stupid?

Silly SlipperHat! (2, Funny)

mattgreen (701203) | more than 6 years ago | (#21478873)

How else can we be obsessed with Microsoft if we don't scrutinize every little thing they do? (You obviously have never had a restraining order issued against you.) With every move they make we can lean back in our cheap OfficeMax chairs and scoff at them. "Fools!" we'd say. "This is yet another sign of their impending failure! My year of experience reading articles on Slashdot qualifies me to make this seemingly absurd statement!" Meanwhile we can whisk away petty things like 'reality' and 'logic' so we can make more tired in-jokes that will earn us beloved moderator points so we can feel validated.

Re:An honest question. (4, Insightful)

vertinox (846076) | more than 6 years ago | (#21478927)

Not to troll, but why is this news? What is newsworthy about a company expanding into another country? You could say "Oh it's Siberia!", but Siberia is a place like any other.

I'm not sure about people who don't live in the US, but for Americans (strangley enough) the term "Siberia" holds a special place for us. As a kid who grew up during the Regan administration everyone would talk about how bad the Soviets were and that if you spoke out against the government you were sent to Siberia regardless and how much better we were for not doing that.

Eventually it got to be a cliche joke (which is why the "In Soviet Russia...") and Americans often joke among each other about being carted off to Siberia for minor offenses.

Now these days I'm sure if you asked the average Russian about what he thought of Siberia and he would most likley think of it as a place much like North Dakato in which it was boring and he wouldn't have any idea why anyone would live there, but if you asked an American, he'd conjure up images of Russian guards in great coats drunk on vodka forcing some poor Microsoft employee to work on the servers while a big picture of Stalin looked down on them in the camp.

Re:An honest question. (1)

natenovs (1055338) | more than 6 years ago | (#21479359)

"a kid who grew up during the Regan" ...or anyone who has read Dostoevsky

Re:An honest question. (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 6 years ago | (#21479405)

I'm not Russian, but Siberia is, as a whole, a beautiful region. There are some sizable cities there too, but not many compared to the size of the region.

I think that's where some of the gulags were - prison labor camps, and those are the ones referenced in some jokes and threats.

Re:An honest question. (2, Informative)

dirkdidit (550955) | more than 6 years ago | (#21479749)

Perhaps the fact that Microsoft has a fairly major office [] in Fargo, North Dakota is testament to how similar North Dakota is to Siberia.

Both areas share a few commonalities: cheap labor, cheap electricity and rural enough to be isolated from any major events that tend bigger cities tend to be prone to. Microsoft sees this and is using it to their advantage, just like any other company would.

Re:An honest question. (1)

Elektroschock (659467) | more than 6 years ago | (#21478943)

There are many persons in Russia who don't like the software company. Just think of the scale of opposition to Open XML in Russia [] . It is a kind of base in Russia for Microsoft's interests. A minor investment.

Risk (2)

Dystopian Rebel (714995) | more than 6 years ago | (#21478625)

This is just part of Microsoft's plan to gather a force to cross the Bering Strait and... attack North America!

Risk games are endless. Sometime in a distant post-ice-age future, the war-like Mikrosoftsi will attack the southern tribes with deadly chairs.

Ah, yes... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21478627)

In Soviet Russia, data center heats YOU!

Stable power?? (2, Insightful)

pixelated77 (472348) | more than 6 years ago | (#21478641)

From TFA : "The region was attractive to Microsoft due to its stable power supply..."

Am I the only one that can think of a few other places with stable power supply? Seriously, what's the upside to a datacenter in Irkutsk?

Re:Stable power?? (1)

ilovegeorgebush (923173) | more than 6 years ago | (#21478699)

It's outside the Ludicrous rule of the United States Government.

Oh wait...out of the frying pan into the fire?

Re:Stable power?? (5, Interesting)

faloi (738831) | more than 6 years ago | (#21478727)

Seriously, what's the upside to a datacenter in Irkutsk?

The upside is you throw a lot of money at a country that's recently stepped up anti-piracy efforts (albeit biased against dissidents [] ), thus getting a "you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours" arrangement. Microsoft helps boost the Russian economy, possibly even throwing extra money to help offset "improvement costs" in the area, and Russia continues to make sure those nasty pirates stay away (at least the pirates engaging in double-plus ungood speech).

But then again, I am pretty cynical when it comes to money and politics.

Re:Stable power?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21478975)

The up side? Duh! Isn't there a lot of oil fields popping up in that part of the world? So wouldn't that put M$ near a.) some booming population centers? and b.) a whole bunch of Rubles?

Location Location Location (1)

PurPaBOO (604533) | more than 6 years ago | (#21479451)

Idiots. Irkutsk is really in the middle of nowhere. I've been there and it's a backwards sh1thole.

Novosibirsk (Russia' third largest city) would be the sensible choice for a datacentre is Siberia.

Re:Stable power?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21478759)

Somewhere with stable government too might be better.

Re:Stable power?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21479117)

I can think of at least one upside: electricity is DIRT CHEAP there.

Exile? (3, Funny)

kimvette (919543) | more than 6 years ago | (#21478673)

Is that where Microsoft is sending employees who run Linux at home now?

Re:Exile? (1)

gmac63 (12603) | more than 6 years ago | (#21478865)

Gives new meaning to "... when you pry it from my cold, dead, fingers."

More like: "Pry it from your cold, dead, fingers? We have a solution for that!"

Re:Exile? (1)

Creepy (93888) | more than 6 years ago | (#21479707)

Welcome to Gulag call center. We run nice operation. Give bad folks good jobs. Everyone is sandwich*, so no-one escape. Perfect for your need.

*the sandwich is the skinny guy you take with you when you escape a Gulag so you don't starve to death crossing Siberia.

But... (1)

ocop (1132181) | more than 6 years ago | (#21478675)

Cooling and overhead have to be ALOT cheaper. Great idea so long as none of my data is stored in an increasingly authoritarian state (US jokes notwithstanding).

Oops, Putin read your hotmail!

Crack? Window? (1)

RandoX (828285) | more than 6 years ago | (#21478687)

Some days it's just too easy.

It's All About Cooling (1)

pyite (140350) | more than 6 years ago | (#21478703)

Even in climates where it's only cool part of the year, efficient data centers have cooling towers so that they can save crazy amounts of money on HVAC. I would bet that more and more data centers will spring up in cooler climates, especially as KW/square foot footprints increase more and more. It's getting very difficult to cool cabinets efficiently.

Re:It's All About Cooling (1)

Panaqqa (927615) | more than 6 years ago | (#21478773)

I'm actually surprised that we are not seeing more data centres in Canada precisely because of this. Where I am right now in central Ontario, we have 5 inches of snow on the ground and the temperature is at -3 Celsius (27 Fahrenheit). If I had to set up a server farm somewhere, I would seriously look at my own location. Power from two separate reliable sources on the grid and less than 5 months of shorts and T-shirt weather (compared to 6 in Toronto and higher in most parts of the US). Significant savings on cooling costs almost certainly. And Siberia would be better than here.

gotta be kidding... (1)

Austrosearch (857263) | more than 6 years ago | (#21478711)

April fools is still a ways off guys...

New say to handle deadlines (3, Informative)

MECC (8478) | more than 6 years ago | (#21478779)

Get those changes in on time, or its off to the eastern front for you.

Some kidding aside, one chief reason (among others) to have facilities on the other side of the planet is just that - overnight labor capable of delivering a PM customer change request that can be delivered the next morning AM.

But, it's just for Microsoft. (2, Insightful)

drspliff (652992) | more than 6 years ago | (#21478797)

Nobody would in their right mind build a shared-use data center in the middle of nowhere because neither the population or the tranist are there.

I presume that by Microsoft doing this it will house only their servers (so shipping them in bulk for a 5000km trip won't really be a significant cost) and they'll be making their own arrangements for uplinks to Russia, Europe and China; probably by laying their own fiber.

Out of curiosity - how will they persuade sysadmins & rack monkeys to emmigrate to Siberia? I can't imagine the long winters and complete lack of night life would be of any interest, unless their thinking of staffing the whole thing with native Russians?

Re:But, it's just for Microsoft. (1)

Entropius (188861) | more than 6 years ago | (#21478973)

complete lack of night life

We're talking Microsoft employees here. They don't care.

Re:But, it's just for Microsoft. (2, Funny)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 6 years ago | (#21479055)

The night life is great. Once it started, the midnight party carry on for 6 months...

Re:But, it's just for Microsoft. (1)

larien (5608) | more than 6 years ago | (#21479141)

You don't actually need to be onsite to manage most servers these days. I'm in a team managing about 1100 servers (yes, I know some people probably manage more, this isn't a willy-waving contest) and I rarely have to go onsite in the data centres to do anything. Really, you only need physical access for:
  • server installs
  • parts replacement (which you can just palm off to the vendor)
  • cabling changes
  • tape changes
  • hitting a power button when it's completely hung (although most systems have remote power these days)
A small team of people onsite can handle that easily and they don't need to be that technically skilled and your "real" admins can be anywhere in the world.

Re:But, it's just for Microsoft. (5, Informative)

rsmeds (539318) | more than 6 years ago | (#21479181)

It's not exactly in the middle of nowhere, though. The city of Irkutsk has a population of approx. 600.000, and the Irkutsk oblast (region) is 2,5 million. So the population (and therefore available workforce) is most certainly there.

Besides, Microsoft already has departments in Russia, so the employees for this data center will probably come mainly from those. Also, comp.sci education in Russian universities has a fairly good reputation, so recruiting new people shouldn't be a problem.

A more obvious site would perhaps have been Novosibirsk (1,4 million), home to Novosibirsk State University -- the science captial of the Soviet Union.

However, I suspect Irkutsk was chosen partly because it is located (more or less) in the middle of Russia -- about halfway from St. Petersburg in the west to Vladivostok in the East -- and because labor is cheaper in Siberia than in Moscow or St.Petersburg.

Granted, the night life is far from what we've come to expect in most of Europe or the US, but there are bars, clubs and even a couple of decent restaurants. I had the best sushi of my life in Irkusk a couple of years ago.

Re:But, it's just for Microsoft. (2, Interesting)

jbburks (853501) | more than 6 years ago | (#21479585)

Let's see - where do I start:

Irkutsk is on the Trans-Siberian Railway, the main East-West transport axis. You can bet there's a lot of fiber down the railroad right-of-way, so comms won't be a problem.

Irkutsk is on the Angara River, which is fed by Lake Baikal. The Bratsk dam (4,500MW) is one of the largest hydropower dams in the world, and there are three more on the Angara. Can you say "zero carbon emissions" and "reliability"?

I would staff the facility with all but a handful of positions being Russian. You can get CCNA/MCSE level people there for less than $10,000USD/year. And, they are quite competent (think Tetris or some of the Russian hackers).

As another poster points out, it doesn't matter any more where there server is located, with the competent remote support tools that all current OSs have.

I would say it's one of the better decisions Microsoft has made.

Stage 2 complete (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21478799)

Stage 1: Establish super rich international company.
Stage 2: Get some Siberian gulags for prisoners
Stage 3: Hire South African mercenaries and ex-Russian military guys
Stage 4: World domination.

Corporate gulag (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21478807)

From now on, MS employees sentenced to prison shall have the option to pay for their crimes without leaving the company.

Microsoft (1)

joaommp (685612) | more than 6 years ago | (#21478849)

Which Gulag do you want to go today?

Honestly (4, Funny)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 6 years ago | (#21478961)

I know you guys are hopeful but I really doubt Microsoft will open Windows.

How many Resets per hour? (0)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 6 years ago | (#21479001)

Fifty Megawatt sounds like about 50 Intel X86 servers... Well, OK, 50MW/500W = 100,000 servers Being as unreliable as MS schtuff is, how does MS manage to keep that many servers running all at the same time? Resetting machines must be a full-time job. I've heard of code monkeys and tape trolls, but a 'reset robot' would be a uniquely Microsoft job description.

Reset Robot can be automated, seriously (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 6 years ago | (#21479123)

You can put watchdog add-in cards or just plain old "ping it" external watchdogs that will cycle the power supply and send a wake-on-lan to reboot the machine.

Of course these external watchdogs can't run Windows. After all, Windows is not supposed to be used where reliability is a concern.

Re:How many Resets per hour? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21479163)

Probably runs on Linux inside a VM. Automatic restarting.

Re:How many Resets per hour? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21479583)

how does MS manage to keep that many servers running all at the same time?

Ever heard of redundancy? Even 10% of this number is still a fearsome computational power, so what if the others crash.
Meantime a bunch of highly trained siberian bears run through the data center, pressing ctrl-alt-del whenever they see blue screen.

Global warming!! (1)

patmandu (247443) | more than 6 years ago | (#21479041)

We must stop the evil! We'll have Microsoft pumping out tens of thousands of calories into the Siberian air. Is this some devious form of terraforming? Will Siberia's environment slowly be altered to match that of Redmond in preparation for the colonization? Will Siberia be flooded with the resulting rain?

Enquiring minds...

The ONION does it again! (1)

wilder_card (774631) | more than 6 years ago | (#21479045)

Wow, this one really had me rolling in the aisles. Those guys at the Onion are comic geniuses.

Hey, wait a minute...

Relative humidity? (2, Funny)

The Second Horseman (121958) | more than 6 years ago | (#21479069)

Wonder what they're going to do to humidify the air. I'd bet it would easily get below 10% RH if they don't do something. A lot of equipment is rated for 10% to 90% these days, but I'd want it over 20%.

Maybe they can use the exhaled breath of a herd of yaks to raise the humidity level. Oh, wait, no, you wouldn't actually get any LEED points for that.

Re:Relative humidity? (1)

coldcell (714061) | more than 6 years ago | (#21479217)

I thought electronics (especially computer electronics) would do excellently in 0% humidity, that's why they can fly into space and stuff. What's the benefit (from a circuit's point of view) of having higher moisture content in the surrounding air? Is it something to do with static buildup?

(btw IANAEE - electrical engineer)

Stable power? (1)

six11 (579) | more than 6 years ago | (#21479083)

Officials in Microsoft's Russian business unit said the region had a stable power supply
Too bad it can't be said that Russia has a stable political environment.

Re:Stable power? (1)

maroberts (15852) | more than 6 years ago | (#21479495)

As long as they're not thinking of Chernobyl.

The only way... (1)

RickBeaver (1042198) | more than 6 years ago | (#21479303)

... to keep Vista ready PC's cool.

Poor performance dumping ground? (1)

Digital_Mercenary (136288) | more than 6 years ago | (#21479339)

Is this where MS employees who get on the Gates shit list get sent to?

Why so many data centers? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#21479373)

In Soviet Russia, data stores YOU.

Of course, a lame ISR joke has to be, but this seems to be the goal. We're living in a world where governments world wide (and not only them) want to know more and more about you. If anyone else knows a good reason for MS entering the data storage world, please enlighten me.

They're probably not even after the data, but realized that there's big bucks in information about people. And advertising is maybe the most harmless (even if annoying) reason to collect data.

permafrost? (1)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 6 years ago | (#21479457)

How are they dealing with the permafrost? I thought you couldn't build things in Siberia because the buildings just sink into the mud in the summer.

Re:permafrost? (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 6 years ago | (#21479729)

Maybe this building will exploit a breakthrough in construction research and tech, known as a "foundation".

The next version of Windows (1)

jandersen (462034) | more than 6 years ago | (#21479475)

- is going to be called 'Gulag', I suppose.

A Cold Day In Hell... (1)

deweycheetham (1124655) | more than 6 years ago | (#21479533)

You only thought Microsoft was Evil. This pretty much confirms it. "It's tow the Microsoft line or off to Sibera for you." You only thought you were in Programmer's Hell, now we know where it is....

Cooling solution (1)

maroberts (15852) | more than 6 years ago | (#21479563)

As others have pointed out, Siberia gets very hot in the summer, so teh real solution is to have a datacenter in both the Northern and Southern hemispheres, each alternately only operational for about half the year.

Datacenter as home heating? (2, Interesting)

ThreeGigs (239452) | more than 6 years ago | (#21479627)

I was really expecting to see some sort of design whereby the waste heat from the datacenter was used to heat homes or apartment buildings. Charging a price that's half of what it would normally cost to heat a building, and supplying the waste heat from the data center would lead to significantly reduced operating costs for the datacenter, and lower cost heating for neighboring structures. Sounds like a win/win situation if done right.
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