Microsoft's datacenter chief to leave

Michael Manos, a respected datacenter engineer, is leaving to work at Digital Realty Trust

Michael Manos, the general manager of Microsoft's Data Center Services division, is leaving the company to work for wholesale datacenter provider Digital Realty rust.

Manos has been leading Microsoft's efforts to build a global network of datacenters to support its online services. He has been a champion of containerized datacenters, which place servers and storage gear in shipping containers to achieve highly energy-efficient designs.

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Manos will be senior vice president of technical services at Digital Realty, which designs and manages datacenters for third parties. He will oversee the design and construction of Digital Realty's datacenters worldwide and lead a new professional services offering that the company plans to unveil shortly, it said in a statement Wednesday.

Manos will start at Digital Realty in early May, a spokesman said. Microsoft could not immediately be reached for comment.

Manos is the second prominent member of Microsoft's datacenter team to leave recently. In December James Hamilton, another respected datacenter engineer, left Microsoft to join Amazon Web Services.

Microsoft has been slowing its datacenter expansion amid the recession. Last October it said it would reduce datacenter capital expenditures by $300 million, and in February it said it would postpone the construction of a datacenter in Iowa, and delay the opening of two others in Chicago and Dublin.

Google has also put some datacenter plans on hold.

Datacenter design has emerged as a critical area for large companies, many of which are struggling to expand capacity due to the power and cooling constraints of their facilities. The area is particularly important for Internet service providers like Microsoft, Amazon, and Google, which operate very large datacenters.

As a result, and in part because of Manos' efforts, these companies have been lifting the secrecy that traditionally surrounds their operations and sharing best practices to learn from each other.

In the statement from Digital Realty, Manos referred to his efforts to educate the industry. "That has been very rewarding," he said. "One of the most appealing aspects about joining Digital Realty Trust is that I will be able to do that on an even larger scale."

Digital Realty called him "a tremendous innovator at Microsoft" and one of the "most respected and most influential people in the datacenter industry."