A True Lift and Shift

Microsoft bought a data center. That’s not news, after all, they’ve been building and buying data centers for some time as they look to expand their Azure footprint, as well as continue to power their own internal systems. As they’ve grown, they’ve also learned quite a bit and regularly redesigned their data centers, moving from racks to shipping containers, from large warehouses to outdoor facilities. They are always trying to become more efficient in how they not only power and cool the systems, but also manage the deployment of servers. They don’t want to rack individual servers, nor do they even want to have systems with unnecessary wiring, choosing to order custom motherboards and other hardware. In fact, they are looking to move beyond containers to ITPACs, whatever they are.

I’m getting off track here, since I think data centers are really cool and well designed. I used to evaluate and rent space in them, so I get intrigued. Back to my point. Microsoft bought a data center.

Is this news? I find it interesting because in this case, Microsoft bought a data center from Chevron for a facility valued at US$80mm. That’s not a lot for a data center, but it comes on the heels of a deal between the companies to use cloud services for Chevron and make Microsoft the primary provider. It seems like Chevron wants to get out of the data center business and just rent the services it needs from Azure. Since they work in the oil and gas industry, with lots of data analysis and predictive requirements, perhaps this makes sense.

That’s a good sales tactic from Microsoft. Use our stuff, which can save you money, and by the way, we’ll buy your old DC so you don’t have to lose that investment. An argument like that might sway quite a few large customers, allow Azure to continue to grow, and also ensure a strong base for Azure revenues for some time to come. That kind of moves makes me think I ought to buy more Microsoft stock.

This won’t make a difference for the smaller companies, but face it, many of them likely have a limited number of servers, dozens perhaps. There are still potential cost savings for them if they can move to a managed solution in the cloud, and I know quite a few Redgate customers that are considering a variety of moves, often a combination of IaaS and PaaS. Not everyone wants to move, but there are plenty of advantages for some companies to consider cloud type solutions.

Microsoft Azure is growing quite a bit and I continue to be impressed with the capabilities and options available. From Managed Instances to Machine Learning on demand to Cognitive Services, I think there is tremendous opportunity for companies to use technologies that might have been cost-prohibitive just a few years ago. Of course, if you’re a basic, just need a RDBMS for an app, you probably are just as happy to run (or rent) space in a smaller data center, where you have more control over resources, options, and costs.

Steve Jones

The Voice of the DBA Podcast

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