back to article Microsoft meths up data center with 220 containers

Crack open the Natty Light. Microsoft plans to throw a white trash data center rager in Chicago. Microsoft will cram between 150 and 220 shipping containers filled with data center gear into a new 500,000 square foot facility. This move marks the most significant, public use of the shipping container systems popularized by the …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Google's patent

    Seems rather unlikely that Google's patent this would stand up in court, what with modular building being a well proven method of making a regular building and therefore being 'obvious'. Recently, a new hotel went up in the town where I live, lift shaft and frame first, then each of the bedrooms craned into place, fully built, it took a tiny ammount of time.

  2. amanfromMars Silver badge

    Vlad the Impaler ....... Striking IT Rich?

    Actually, with regard to shipping and docking of data containers, probably the Russians have Prior Art Rights with their Space Station System, but who would be bothered to Patent IT whenever IT only is rewarded with Monopoly Money/Fools Gold.

  3. Eddie
    Gates Halo

    Dubious patent claims...

    IBM have been supplying containeri^w data center equipment inside containers for ever and a day - Wimbledon and the Snooker champions ships spring to mind immediately.

    Not only that, but if it's not Microsoft kit, i.e. they are just buying in the servers, surely the supplier/manufacturer or whatever is responsible - if you buy a Gucci knockoff in Camden market, it's the retailer/vendor/manufacturer that is responsible for the copyright/patent abuse claims, not the purchaser, as far as I know.

    Gates with a halo, not because I think Microsoft deserve one, but I think in this case they may have the high ground (cue more knowledgable folk who will show me to be wrong...)

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    That is just SO KEWL!!!!!!

    That is really kewl - Imagine what'll they be able to do with the 220 containers - I bet they can get a Windows Experience Index of 3.0 when they run Windows(r) Vista on that thing!!! It'll have Aero and everything!

    Paris Hilton, because you don't have Britney Spears!

  5. Richard Eustace
    Thumb Down

    Upside down?

    The entire first floor of Chicago is going to be containers

    The second level of Microsoft's data center will stick with the raised floors of yesteryear.

    Would it not be easier to have the containers on the roof rather than build on top of them?

    What happens if one needs replaced?

  6. Anonymous Coward

    It may need amending...

    The patent can be seen here:

    All the comments in this and related threads talk of a backup or emergency container on a back of a lorry. They don't talk about installing multiple containers to form a data centre.

    Thing is, neither does claim 1 of the patent - it says 'at least one'. Thus to differentiate it from what's been said here, they would need to amend it to read 'a plurality' of containers, and argue for the modular monotoring advantages etc re a normal data centre that were outlined in the article.

  7. Hayden Clark Silver badge


    Ah, but - in every picture of a data container I've seen, it's sitting in glorious isolation outside in a car park. Crammed together (stacked vertically?) indoors, I be the inner ones get seriously warm.

  8. John Saunders

    Datacenter Container-ment

    Hey. The title just came to me, ok? Feel free to use it if you like. :-)

    As a practice, datacenters and their contents move infrequently. Shipping containers are designed to move, and, particularly in the case of the WTDC, be impervious to an exterior environment.

    So the containers in question hopefully will be more in alignment with the requirements for a building interior and a non-vagabond existence, offering modular containment of computing equipment environmentals. The supposition is that by not conditioning the entire building space, but rather just the space close to the computing gear, efficiency and effectiveness is improved. Did MS miss an opportunity to mention the 'green' angle? Looks like it.

    This odd project does offer the opportunity to contrast the two modes of operation right there in the same building. Odd, because you certainly don't need to build a traditional data center to contrast with. There are plenty of those already. And if the first floor represents the known good future, and the second floor the known obsolete past, MS is spending money on it because ... ?

  9. Robert E A Harvey


    I'm sorry, old chap, I can't understand your banter.

    Is there a translation of the headline the first paragraph, and some of the other stuff into English?

  10. Nexox Enigma

    First Paragraph

    """Crack open the Natty Light. Microsoft plans to throw a white trash data center rager in Chicago."""

    First of all, "Natty Light" is what the college kids use as slang for "Natrual Light," a cheaper, (more) poorly flavored version of Bud Light. It can typically be obtained in boxes of 30 cans, at a price about 1/6 the price of a good beer. People use them to play drinking games, shot gun, vomit, and whatever else they can come up with while inebriated.

    A rager is sort of a massive party to which many people show up. After a healthy rager you can expect the hosting venue to be more or less completely destroyed (Think missing drywall, broken fixtures, smashed windows) and littered with beer cans, urine, condom wrappers, etc.

    Should just about sum it up, I think.

  11. Alan Donaly
    Thumb Up

    I speak jive

    meths up ; cooking up methamphetamine is a white trash cottage industry though it's gotten less prevalent in recent years I think it's stretching it a bit.

    Natty Lite; horrible beer very cheap almost free.

    White trash; I think their equivalent would be chav or pikey in English. Most white people in the US are white trash or are descended from white trash and those who are not may well become white trash in the future.

    Food Stamps; a coupon for food and a few other things the US subsidises you can get if you are destitute to keep yourself alive it's a type of welfare.

    Rager; not sure.

    Trailerized; is that a word, anyway white trash sometimes live in trailers the phrase trailer-trash is common.

    Ashlee Vance you're out of control keep it up.

  12. brian korn

    natty boh

    Natty light - National Bohemian. Beer. From the home page, "Why do you drink Natty Boh" - I chose "Baltimore Pride"

  13. ImaGnuber

    Parked Containers

    "As a practice, datacenters and their contents move infrequently. Shipping containers are designed to move,"

    And when they stop moving? There is a little growth industry in turning containers into homes - a clever way of using unused containers rather than just letting them sit and rust in massive piles. I'm sure you could easily think of a dozen other possible uses.

    Try google.

  14. Brian Miller

    Ashlee Vance on food stamps?

    "... an embrace of the Southern, food stamp culture your reporter shares with trailerized people."

    The Register pays so little that Ashlee Vance subsists on food stamps? Or should we believe that Ashlee is transplanted to San Francisco from someplace in the American South? Or that trailer parks only exist in the South? Puzzling.

    As a former resident of trailer parks (I lived in an 18ft 1967 Fireball), I can't imagine any tech reporter in San Francisco having something to do with us. And yes, I had three computers in my trailer.

  15. James O'Brien
    Gates Horns


    I usually dont bother reading your comments as they usually make me go mad from trying to figure out what you said. But I will say this, the title Vlad the Impaler brings to mind a rather interesting song from a band named GWAR called Vlad the Impaler :)

    Vlad Vlad Vlad the Impaler, (cut some lyrics out and get the to good part)

    He stepped back and he smoked a joint

    Dont ask why this came to mind, just woke up from faceplanting on my keyboard out of boredom. I love sleeping for 2-3 hours and getting paid.

    Though makes me wonder about the containers. . .Will it be able to run Crysis with Ultra High Settings?

    /Billy boy cause he does have a spitting image with Vlad

  16. Alan

    The entire first floor of Chicago is going to be containers

    That's on big fuck off data-centre - 237 Sq miles

  17. StopthePropaganda

    racist banter= teh funneh for folks like you

    slam the white, it's all right. But don't mention Obama's middle name.

    f**kin hilarious. It's in the back of a container truck. Chinese goods come in containers by the thousands, but I suppose AV formerly from Mountain View never bothered to watch ships come in under the Bridge. Let's start up some good ol' Chinese racial slurs from the Gold Rush, hell, that's San Francisco history right there!

    Make some of those "out of control" comments about eating dogs, slant eyes and "funny accents" while you're at it. Hilarious comedy gold!

    liberal guilt w@nkers. And Alan, meth is a *poor people*'s drug. Real big on indian reservations, "da Hood", "migrant" farmer communities-anywhere they can't afford or manufacture "big city" crack or yuppie cocaine. maybe y'all need to step out of your ivory towers a bit and see how many "trailer trash" are the people your kind step on to maintain your illustrious existence.

    Eloi's good eatin' I hear. Us Morlocks are gonna do well soon enough.

  18. Anton Ivanov
    Gates Horns

    Micro and Soft as usual

    Quote: "One of the things we like about them is we can take a bunch of servers and look at the output of that box and look at the power it draws"

    What a laugh. Anyone with a good power distribution system can do that. In fact anyone designing a datacenter today and doing that deserves to be fired.

    This of course requires being able to get the data off the readouts of the power distribution system which cough cough does not seem to have a .NET library cough cough. Hint: usually it can be done in Perl.

  19. amanfromMars Silver badge

    MkUltra Sensitive Advanced Artificial Intelligence Concepts for Reality Plays

    "Though makes me wonder about the containers. . .Will it be able to run Crysis with Ultra High Settings?" .... By James O'Brien Posted Wednesday 2nd April 2008 20:22 GMT


    They'll be a Total Waste of Time, Effort and Flash Cash Beta Invested if they are not so enabled ..... and enabling.

    Do you Program for EA and is Crysis having AI Future Crisis in Real-Time for their Virtual World Great Game? A strange question maybe ....which you can blame on ..[Dont ask why this came to mind, just woke up from faceplanting on my keyboard out of boredom. I love sleeping for 2-3 hours and getting paid.]

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