Microsoft said yesterday that it has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Siberian government which could see the software giant park its latest data centre on a remote, sub-arctic part of Russia*(see Reader Comment below).
The city of Irkutsk has been pinpointed as a possible location for Microsoft's latest data-pumping farm.
Over the past few months it has announced plans to build new data centres in Chicago and Dublin, at $500m a pop. The firm already has a number of US sites that power servers for the likes of Windows Live, Exchange and SharePoint.
The potential Siberian build could prove a significant investment for Redmond as it continues to push its growing online business. Aside from the planned Dublin site, Microsoft has – up to now – only had a data centre presence in the US.
Perhaps the firm has been eyeing up the Siberian city as a possible location from which it can spit out web-based apps to the masses because of its favourable weather conditions, which could provide natural cooling to the data centre.
In a recent interview with CNET, Microsoft's senior director of data centres Mike Manos said that the software giant had 35 different criteria when selecting a site that included access to water and power, low energy costs and decent telecoms links.
But the jury is still out in chilly Siberia. The firm said in a statement:
"Microsoft is in the midst of an ongoing initiative to expand its global data centre presence... While we are very excited about the potential in Russia, no formal decision or commitment has been made to a data centre build in Russia at this time." ®