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Microsoft boots Savvis from data centers

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Think Microsoft trails Google in the "wow" department by a country mile? You're right.

Google likes to impress with $600m data centers scattered around the heartland. Meanwhile, Microsoft picks up sloppy seconds from companies such as hosting services provider Savvis. Redmond late last month agreed to take over a pair of Savvis's Silicon Valley data centers for $190m in cash and another $10m in previously advanced revenue.

Microsoft, the sole tenant in the Savvis facilities, will acquire some 250,000 square feet of raised-floor data center real estate, although only 160,000 square feet are "usable" under typical conditions, according to the companies.

Savvis originally had Microsoft locked up through 2010 via a colocation contract for the two data centers, but will kill that agreement in favor of the cash.

“The acquisition of these assets is an important part of our vision for a globally scaled data center infrastructure that will keep pace with user demand for innovative online services,” said Arne Josefsberg, general manager of infrastructure services at Microsoft. “Working with Savvis to complete this transaction will allow us to gain energy and operational efficiencies, helping us continue to run some of the largest services in the world."

Spin as you like, Arne. Microsoft seems to have done little more than remove the Savvis labeling from the data centers and will still be leasing the centers from Digital Reality Trust. That's hardly a capacity add on the Google scale.

Speaking of which. Given that so many service providers seem to rely on open source software and cheap, open source zealots coming out of college to improve their data center economics, can Microsoft really compete on cost versus the likes of Google and Yahoo!? Sure, Microsoft gets its own software for free, but we're not talking about loads of lightweight, multi-threaded code or youthful enthusiasm here. Please discuss. ®

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