Iowa summers were more than Microsoft bargained for, prompting the company to abandon a new design concept as a means of expanding its West Des Moines data center.
The first phase of the project at 8855 Grand Ave. included an administration building and a series of pre-assembled modules that house computer servers. The Redmond, Wash., company is proposing a steel building to hold the site’s next crop of computer components.
West Des Moines city planner Lynne Twedt said the design change came in response to the state’s steamy summers.
“I think they’re finding out that the individual units are not working so well in the Iowa humidity,” she told the city’s plan and zoning commission Wednesday. “They’re going to a different plan of attack with this one.”
As data centers in Iowa grow in size and scale, technicians charged with keeping the facilities online must understand weather patterns, said Rex Pruess, director of infrastructure services at the University of Iowa.
Cold, dry conditions can create static electricity and harm electronics in the winter. And when summer hits, the state’s humidity can wreak havoc on computer equipment.