So today, me and a small group from the Microsoft and SUSE alliance team set off at 5am to visit Microsoft’s data-center at Quincy in Washington State, US. We wanted to see for ourselves, one of the places where SUSE Linux Enterprise Server on Azure may now reside.
Situated across the mountains from Seattle and safely away from any threat of earthquakes, this massive, yet inconspicuous building possibly houses Azure, Bing and other Microsoft solutions. After being strictly advised ‘not to touch anything’ (especially not the red button) we entered through tight security into the very quiet maze of rooms that make up this enormous datacenter.
Room after room of floor to ceiling racks hummed and flashed and Azure was somewhere there – I think. Substantial cooling systems run through the building alongside fire detectors so sensitive, they ‘pick up the smoke from fireworks on July 4th’. In case there’s a power outage, rooms stacked full of batteries are ready to take over immediately, followed shortly by several massive Caterpillar generators. But most likely would be that the site would fail-over automatically to one of Microsoft’s other colossal data-centers before any of this is even necessary.
Outside from the main building we were shown the latest generation of data-center – big containers that come ready-fitted with racks of servers and seemingly less sophisticated (and much more environmentally friendly) cooling facilities that use vents and water evaporation.
So for anyone who’s still concerned about putting their data in the cloud – they should go visit one of these centers and ask themselves if they could really equal the levels of security, availability, reliability and sustainability offered by something like this…