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The anatomy of a datacenter—how Microsoft’s datacenter {hardware} powers the Microsoft Cloud | Azure Weblog and Updates


Row of server racks in a datacenter

Main {hardware} engineering at an organization identified for its huge portfolio of software program purposes and techniques just isn’t as unusual because it sounds, because the Microsoft Cloud will depend on {hardware} as the muse of belief, reliability, capability, and efficiency, to make it potential for Microsoft and our clients to realize extra. The underlying infrastructure that powers our 60 plus datacenter areas throughout 140 international locations consists of {hardware} and techniques that sit throughout the bodily buildings of datacenters—enabling thousands and thousands of consumers to execute crucial and superior workloads, resembling AI and quantum computing, in addition to unleashing future improvements.

Datacenter {hardware} growth is crucial to the evolution of the Microsoft Cloud

Because the Microsoft Cloud affords companies and merchandise to satisfy the world’s ever-growing computing calls for, it’s crucial that we repeatedly design and advance {hardware} techniques and infrastructure to ship better efficiency, larger effectivity, and extra resiliency to clients—all with safety and sustainability in thoughts. Right now, our {hardware} engineering efforts and investments focus closely on roadmap and lifecycle planning, sourcing and provisioning of servers, and innovating to ship next-generation infrastructure for datacenters. In our new {Hardware} Innovation weblog collection, I’ll be sharing a number of the {hardware} growth and investments which can be driving essentially the most affect for the Microsoft Cloud and making Azure the trusted cloud that delivers progressive, dependable, and sustainable hybrid cloud options. However first, let’s look “beneath the hood” of a Microsoft datacenter:

From server to cloud: the end-to-end cloud {hardware} lifecycle

Our {hardware} planning begins with what clients need: capability, differentiated companies, cost-savings, and finally the power to resolve more durable issues with the assistance of the Microsoft Cloud. We combine key concerns resembling buyer suggestions, operational evaluation, expertise vetting, with analysis of disruptive improvements into our technique and roadmap planning, enchancment of current {hardware} in our datacenters for compute, community structure, and storage, whereas future-proofing progressive workloads for scale. Our engineers then design, construct, check, and combine software program and firmware into {hardware} fleets that meet a stringent set of high quality, safety, and compliance necessities earlier than deploying them into Microsoft’s datacenters throughout the globe.

Sourcing and provisioning cloud {hardware}, sustainably and securely

With Microsoft’s scale, the methods during which we provision, deploy, and decommission {hardware} components have the potential to drive huge planetary affect. Whereas we work with suppliers to reimagine a extra resilient and environment friendly provide chain utilizing applied sciences resembling blockchain and digital twins, we additionally purpose to have sustainability constructed into each step of the way in which. An instance of our sustainability management is the execution of Microsoft Round Facilities, the place servers and {hardware} which can be being decommissioned are repurposed—efforts which can be anticipated to extend the reuse of servers and elements by as much as 90 p.c by 2025. I might be sharing extra on our Round Facilities progress this 12 months. We even have in place the Azure Safety and Resiliency Structure (ASRA) as an method to drive safety and resiliency constantly and comprehensively throughout the Microsoft Cloud infrastructure provide chain.

Innovating to ship next-generation datacenter infrastructure

We’re investigating and growing expertise that will permit datacenters to be extra agile, environment friendly, and sustainable to function whereas assembly the computing calls for of the longer term. We showcased growth in datacenter power effectivity, resembling our two-phase liquid immersion cooling, permitting extra densely packed servers to slot in smaller areas, and addressing processor overclocking for larger computing effectivity with a decrease carbon footprint. We additionally proceed to put money into and develop workload-optimized infrastructure—from servers, racks, techniques, to datacenter designs—for extra customized general-purpose choices in addition to specialised compute resembling AI, high-performance computing, quantum, and past.

Constructing essentially the most superior and progressive {hardware} for the clever cloud and the clever edge

The journey of constructing Microsoft Cloud’s {hardware} infrastructure is an thrilling and humbling one as we see continuous development in expertise to satisfy the wants of the second. I’ve been within the {hardware} business for greater than thirty years—but, I’m extra excited every day as I work alongside leaders and consultants on our crew, with our companions throughout the business, and with the open supply neighborhood. Like most of the cloud companies that sit on high of it, Microsoft’s {hardware} engine runs on consistency in high quality, reliability, and scalability. Keep tuned as we proceed to share extra deep dives and updates of our cloud {hardware} growth, progress, and outcomes—and work to drive ahead expertise development, allow new capabilities, and push the boundaries of what we will obtain within the clever cloud and the clever edge.

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