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

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Row of server racks in a datacenter

Main {hardware} engineering at an organization identified for its huge portfolio of software program functions and programs is just not as unusual because it sounds, because the Microsoft Cloud relies on {hardware} as the muse of belief, reliability, capability, and efficiency, to make it potential for Microsoft and our prospects to realize extra. The underlying infrastructure that powers our 60 plus datacenter areas throughout 140 nations consists of {hardware} and programs that sit throughout the bodily buildings of datacenters—enabling tens of millions of consumers to execute crucial and superior workloads, equivalent to AI and quantum computing, in addition to unleashing future improvements.

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

Because the Microsoft Cloud gives providers and merchandise to fulfill the world’s ever-growing computing calls for, it’s crucial that we repeatedly design and advance {hardware} programs and infrastructure to ship larger efficiency, larger effectivity, and extra resiliency to prospects—all with safety and sustainability in thoughts. As we speak, 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 sequence, I’ll be sharing a few of the {hardware} improvement and investments which can be driving essentially the most influence 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 prospects need: capability, differentiated providers, cost-savings, and finally the flexibility to resolve more durable issues with the assistance of the Microsoft Cloud. We combine key issues equivalent to buyer suggestions, operational evaluation, know-how vetting, with analysis of disruptive improvements into our technique and roadmap planning, enchancment of present {hardware} in our datacenters for compute, community structure, and storage, whereas future-proofing progressive workloads for scale. Our engineers then design, construct, take a look at, 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 large planetary influence. Whereas we work with suppliers to reimagine a extra resilient and environment friendly provide chain utilizing applied sciences equivalent to blockchain and digital twins, we additionally goal 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 parts by as much as 90 p.c by 2025. I will probably be sharing extra on our Round Facilities progress this yr. We even have in place the Azure Safety and Resiliency Structure (ASRA) as an strategy to drive safety and resiliency persistently and comprehensively throughout the Microsoft Cloud infrastructure provide chain.

Innovating to ship next-generation datacenter infrastructure

We’re investigating and growing know-how that may permit datacenters to be extra agile, environment friendly, and sustainable to function whereas assembly the computing calls for of the longer term. We showcased improvement in datacenter power effectivity, equivalent to 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 spend money on and develop workload-optimized infrastructure—from servers, racks, programs, to datacenter designs—for extra customized general-purpose choices in addition to specialised compute equivalent to 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 know-how to fulfill the wants of the second. I’ve been within the {hardware} trade for greater than thirty years—but, I’m extra excited every day as I work alongside leaders and specialists on our group, with our companions throughout the trade, and with the open supply neighborhood. Like most of the cloud providers that sit on prime 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} improvement, progress, and outcomes—and work to drive ahead know-how development, allow new capabilities, and push the boundaries of what we are able to obtain within the clever cloud and the clever edge.

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