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Microsoft expands Dublin bit barn to slurp Euro-Data

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Microsoft plans to fork out $230m to add a fourth mega datahall to its Dublin bit-barn campus.

The expansion was announced on Tuesday and will add a further 20 people to the 80 on-site staff, as well as create temporary employment for 380 building-related jobs.

The expansion will add around 169,000 square feet of IT space to the facility. This is a significant addition, and represents tens of thousands of additional servers. Microsoft is adding to the data center to support continued growth in services such as Xbox Live, Bing, Office 365, and Windows Azure, among others.

This brings the total footprint of the facility to 584,000 square feet, according to a press release.

"Not only does this highlight the growth in our cloud services business but it also highlights our continued commitment to investment and innovation in Ireland and Europe," Microsoft Ireland's managing director Cathriona Hallahan, said in a canned quote.

By comparison, Facebook's Prineville, Oregon data center contains two huge bit barns, each fielding around 300,000-square feet of IT space, and the giant recently announced a 50,000–square foot "cold storage" addition.

Microsoft's new bit barn is expected to have a power usage effectiveness of 1.25, according to a report by Techworld. This means that for every watt spent on compute, storage, and networking, around .25 watts will be expended on supporting power and cooling infrastructure, putting Microsoft behind rivals in its quest for efficiency.

Google, by comparison, fields data centers with a PUE of between 1.08 and 1.18, while Facebook claims a rating of around 1.07.

These varying efficiency levels reflect the types of hardware each of the companies buy, and how tightly integrated their facilities are. Due to the broad array of services Microsoft supports, its PUE tends to trail those of highly integrated firms such as Google and Facebook. ®

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