Steve Clayton: I've written a little bit already on this blog about Microsoft's datacenters and it's something I suspect you'll hear a lot more about over the next year. I'll happily predict that Wired, the NY Times and The Financial Times will write on the topic more over the coming year. Why? Partly because it's the new battleground for computing and the mainstream media will enjoy pitting the old (Microsoft) against the new (Google) and some other significant players like HP, EMC and Amazon. It'll also be a hot topic because of the energy consumption of these massive datacenters.
You can relatively easily put the X axis on the charts above but if you need some guidance, check out the Wired Information Factories article from 2006.
Microsoft's power consumption has risen 10 times in the last three years as it has come to serve Hotmail's 260 million users, MSN Messenger's 240 million, and Live's 320 million. Chrapaty projects a further tenfold rise in the next five years as the company's nine data centers, most scattered around the US, are joined with others around the globe. With a great sucking sound audible in Redmond as the Windows desktop disappears into the cloud, Microsoft has no choice but to damn the expense and forge ahead.