Microsoft’s Iowa data center cluster to reach 3.2M square feet

Software giant has targeted West Des Moines for a major data center buildout

From a data center perspective, Iowa has a lot going for it.

Its industrial electric rates are 5.71 cents per kWh, near the bottom nationally, according to U.S. data. It has experienced “minor earthquake activity” since the U.S. took control in 1803 under the Louisana Purchase.

It’s also far from hurricane trouble, but Iowa is at higher risk for tornadoes, and that may help explain Microsoft’s data center building plans.

Microsoft is building a 1.7 million-square-foot data center complex in the West Des Moines area. The project, announced last week, is on top of two other Microsoft data center projects for the area that were announced in 2008 and 2014.

In total, Microsoft is creating some 3.2 million square feet of data center space in the West Des Moines area, but in three separate locations. The combined investment is about $3.5 billion.

Microsoft may be building its facilities at different locations to minimize the risk of tornado damage, said Clyde Evans, the director of community and economic development for West Des Moines. If a tornado were to strike, “it wouldn’t get them all,” he said.

The site of the latest data center, called Project Osmium, is on 200 acres. As a point of comparison, the Pentagon, at 6.6 million square feet, is located on 34 acres, so Microsoft has room to grow.

Microsoft’s first data center was called Mountain and the second one is Alluvion.

Work on Microsoft’s 1.7 million-square-foot data center will begin next year and is scheduled to be completed, in four phases, by 2022. Data centers aren’t big direct employers, and the total number of employees for the latest data center was estimated around 130.

The number one reason for locating in the state is probably low electric rates, Evans said. Microsoft is not commenting on its data center projects, and is leaving it up to government officials to detail its plans.

In terms of incentives, Microsoft is getting a refund on the sales taxes paid on construction materials. The company isn’t getting a property tax break. Instead, the city is funding about $65 million in infrastructure improvements, such as roads and sewers, for Osmium, but this cost will be fully funded by Microsoft’s property tax payments.

The Osmium data center will generate more than $12 million a year in property taxes, but the taxes collected from all three Microsoft data center facilities, once they are built, will be about $23 million a year, government officials said.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags business

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Patrick Thibodeau

Computerworld (US)
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?