Microsoft Corp. will build a $500 million data center in Ireland that will support customers throughout Europe, Africa and the Middle East, the software company said Tuesday.
Microsoft said the 51,000-square-foot facility, scheduled to open in mid-2009, will house tens of thousands of servers not included in the development's price tag. These will be used to power Microsoft's Windows Live-branded products, including storage space for its free Hotmail e-mail services.
John Mangelaars, vice president of the Microsoft Online Services Group, said the Dublin facility would be "the first 'mega-data center' deployment outside the United States specifically targeted at the growth and performance of Windows Live services."
It also is expected to speed the delivery of software downloads, updates and patches to users of its bread-and-butter Windows and Office software.
Microsoft employs more than 1,200 people in Ireland, its major European base, at three campuses. The new data center will be constructed at the Grange Castle Business Park in southwest suburban Dublin, near existing plants for drugmakers Wyeth of the United States and Takeda Chemical Industries Ltd. of Japan.
Microsoft said the data center would employ an additional 10 to 15 people, reflecting the high level of automation involved.