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Datacenter Design Leader Leaves Microsoft

A key Microsoft team member involved with the modular design of Microsoft's server farms has joined another company.

Michael Manos joined Digital Realty Trust as senior vice president of technical services. He will oversee the design and construction of the San Francisco-based company's datacenters worldwide, according to an announcement issued by the company on Wednesday.

In addition, Manos will "spearhead the launch of a new professional services offering that the Company will unveil shortly," according to Digital Realty Trust's announcement.

Manos formerly served as Microsoft's general manager of Data Center Services. In one of his last Microsoft blog posts, Manos outlined Microsoft's fourth-generation datacenter design, which is being used to power Microsoft's "Software plus Services" deployments.

The Gen-4 datacenters are built in semi-open spaces using trucks, which unload shipping containers packed with servers. The modular Gen-4 approach is illustrated in this video. In a June interview given at Tech-Ed 2008 in Orlando, Fla., Manos said that Microsoft has "tens of datacenters" built out.

The economic downturn has caused Microsoft to delay some of its datacenter buildout plans in recent months.

For instance, in January, Microsoft postponed a $550 million project to build a datacenter in Des Moines, Iowa. That delay, along with Chicago and Dublin datacenter slow-downs, was noted by James Hamilton, an architect with the Microsoft Data Center Futures team, who left Microsoft to join Amazon in January. Hamilton now works as vice president and distinguished engineer on the Amazon Web Services team.

In addition to losing datacenter team members, Microsoft managed to gain one -- from Yahoo. In March, Microsoft hired Dayne Sampson, formerly vice president of operations for search and advertising at Yahoo. Sampson is now general manager at Microsoft's Global Foundation Services Division.

The Global Foundation Services Division runs the physical infrastructure of Microsoft's datacenters worldwide, led by Corporate Vice President Debra Chrapaty.

Microsoft has picked up other key Yahoo online services personal in recent months, most notably Qi Lu, the former head of Yahoo's Engineering and Advertising Technology Group. In December, Lu joined Microsoft as the president of its Online Services Group.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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