Microsoft Enviroment video reveals datacenter server numbers and power consumption?

It’s probably safe to bet that all of Microsoft’s online operations doesn’t run off a single server in the basement of Gates’ house (on the other hand Apple’s MobileMe might actually be running in Jobs’ basement), so how many servers do Microsoft actually have? Microsoft never says and no one seems to know for sure except the few numbers thrown around including a notable “10,000 new servers a month“, however, a recent promotional video produced by Microsoft’s Environmental Sustainability group may have accidentally spilled the beans.

The following screencaps are from taken from the video Q&A with Rob Bernard, Chief Environmental Strategist, at 2min 29sec to 2min 35sec for those of you playing at home.

Some quick stats gathered from the above clippings: 15 datacenters hosting 148,357 servers sitting on 17,406 racks consuming 72,500KW of utility power as of the end of January 2008 (as indicated by the bar chart). If you’re a bit of a imperial measurement person, that’s 97,000 horsepower. So the next time you visit Live Search, think of the horses.

On the same page there’s also an interesting graph showing the distribution of servers per “property”. Live Search is in the clear lead with approximately 75,000 (50%) of the servers pushing out those less-than-desirable search results, followed by Hotmail. The other notable property occupying a large chunk of the servers would be “other” (appropriately named), which one could assume be dedicated to XBOX Live services and the like.

Assuming these statistics are real and accurate, then at the growth rate of 10,000 servers a month Microsoft should be at 218,000 servers at the end of August 08. A mind-blowing number. They’re going to need more horses.

25 insightful thoughts

  1. Holy. That is a insane amount about servers. Do they even need that much horsepower? How big “is” Bill Gates basement? 😉

  2. @fiji: just consider microsoft update. it is the biggest software updating system in the world. then imagine Live ID with its 350 million registrations, then hotmail, etc,etc,etc.

  3. Lets hope we get a few more servers for LIVE, a few more for Live Mesh, a few more for the kitchen sink and a few more FiOS connections (on my end… I AM LOOKING AT YOU VERIZON! COME TO ARIZONA YOU BASTARDS!!!) to support the extra speed.

  4. Interesting find about servers.

    @Peter Ortner: MS probably uses Linux for most of its servers, seeing as how anyone with common sense knows that Linux is better than Windows server for stability, security and performance reasons (forget those stupid MS ads with ridiculous claims).

  5. As it would appear that the other category has nigh on 40,000 servers, why in the name of sweet baby Blesus is xboxlive so god damn slow,

    I realise that Other could include any number of services but surely XboxLive has to be a fair portion of that number

  6. Nice catch there, Long!

    Impressive numbers indeed. 200k could be either a whole lot or very little depending on how they’re actually split and used… and now w/ virtualization coming of age, numbers could soon turn very deceiving!

  7. Of course it pales in comparison to Google, especially considering MS has only 8% of the search market. But I agree with Sumesh above. I know Microsoft runs Linux and I wonder how much of that, if not all of it, might just be LInux.

  8. Never wish to visit live search (I’ve tried and it sucked) so I never have to worry about those poor, retarded horses that think has something to do with linux.

  9. Of course they run Linux for websites and computational stuff, and of course they run MS for Active Directory and MS stuff — too bad all those gurus don’t know enough about IT in general, what’s best for what. A lot of idiots spewing garbage thinking there’s only one O/S is best not realizing you’re comparing apples to oranges. Anyone with any brains know you’re not going to be finding a lot of Linux servers running AD.

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