Microsoft Expands Iowa Data Center
June 24, 2013

Microsoft To Spend $678 Expanding Iowa Data Center

Michael Harper for – Your Universe Online

Microsoft is ready to inject some $678 million into their existing Iowa data center as a part of what they’re calling “Project Mountain,” an expansion of their now four-year facility. The expansion, which will earn Microsoft $20 million in tax credits from the state, racks up the total spent there to more than $1 billion.

According to the Des Moines Register, Microsoft has already purchased the land necessary for the expansion and now owns 40 acres of Iowa land. Google also owns and operates a data center in the Hawkeye state, and the state’s economic director said the cheap, reliable energy and tax incentives could bring in more data centers later this year.

“We’re seeing a lot of interest in this space. There may be more projects to come,” said Debi Durham, Iowa’s economic director in a statement to the Des Moines register.

Facebook announced their fourth data center (third in the US) would be planted in Altoona, Iowa. They plan to break ground later this summer and begin handling customer traffic in 2014. Google’s data center has been operational in Council Bluffs, Iowa since 2009, and they announced last year they’d be expanding this site, bringing their total Iowa investment to $1.5 billion.

In a statement, a Microsoft spokesperson told the Des Moines Register this new expansion will “support the growing demand for Microsoft’s cloud services.” More specifically, this data center could handle traffic for Xbox Live and Office 365 traffic. The company is also said to be adding an additional 29 employees in the newly expanded data center. They currently employ about 50 people in their West Des Moines data center.

When the Redmond-based company first moved to Des Moines, they purchased a large tract of land, indicating that they may have had plans to expand in the area. Though they already owned much of the land necessary to expand, city officials say they still had to compete with other US cities to host the newly expanded data center.

Facebook’s Altoona data center began life as “Project Catapult” and was referred to by Data Center Knowledge as “One of the longest-running mysteries in the data center industry.” Law makers in Iowa have praised Facebook’s planned data center for its technological advancements and use of clean energy. Before it was revealed that Facebook was the owner of this mysterious data center, some assumed the building’s use of solar panels and fuel cells meant that Apple owned the plans instead.

Facebook is reportedly spending $1.5 billion on their 476,000 square feet data center. The social network also owns centers in North Carolina, Oregon and Sweden. Microsoft’s newly expanded West Des Moines data center will join their buildings in California, Hong Kong, Illinois, Ireland, the Netherlands, Singapore, Texas and Virginia.