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Microsoft Pri0

Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times technology reporter Matt Day.

December 8, 2008 at 3:16 PM

Dell’s Humidors packed with ‘puro’ servers for Microsoft?

Ellen M. Banner / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Stacy Thrasher, great grand-daughter of F. K. Kirsten, poses for a photo inside my favorite local humidor.

Wondering who’s going to build all the shipping containers preloaded with server computers to supply Microsoft’s ambitious modular data center strategy? Dell, for one, is already scoring some of the business with a double-decker model code-named “Humidor.”

Before we go much further, isn’t that just a great code name? There are so many awful code names in tech, it’s nice to see one that makes sense.

Anyway, see this New York Times item for a look at Dell’s modular data center efforts. Here’s the section relevant to Microsoft:

“So why would a company like Dell, which prides itself on using volume to lower costs, get into the container game?

“That’s easy: Microsoft.

“Microsoft has been the main advocate of containers, saying they will form the basis of its future data center designs. Some of Dell’s first containers will go to a new Microsoft data center near Chicago, according to Forrest Norrod, the vice president in charge of Dell’s Data Center Solutions business.

“And Microsoft’s interest in the container idea should inspire others to take a look at the technology.

“‘I think next year will be the year for this,’ Mr. Norrod said.

“Whereas competitors have put all of the requisite technology components into a single container, Dell has gone with the double-decker idea. One container is full of server, storage and networking systems, while another container handles power and cooling. By using this design, Dell claims it can stick with standard equipment across the board, saving customers money and making it easier to upgrade the units.”

The Register reported in October that Dell’s Data Center Solutions business is powering Windows Azure. My colleague Brier Dudley wrote about it at the time.

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