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Datacenter Lab

Donating industry hardware to schools
to help create a Datacenter Lab

Photo of student working on computer monitor
To augment classroom instruction, helping our education partners build datacenter labs is another key component to our community partnerships. Microsoft donates datacenter equipment to help these partners build these on-site labs. Donated datacenter equipment provides a real-world feel to the classroom experience. These mock datacenters help students’ understanding of cloud storage tools and equipment. In developing students’ familiarity with the equipment, they are well-prepared for careers in IT.
Photo of students working together
How does it work?

​​​​​​​The typical lab contains at least three (3) rack cabinets with a mix of servers, storage devices and networking equipment. If the learning institution has more space, a bigger lab deployment is possible.
Microsoft’s Workforce Development team partners with local construction companies to outfit the new lab with the necessary cooling, ventilation, and wiring to support lab operations. Typically, datacenter labs are deployed in a classroom nearest the school’s Computer Science or IT programs.

How can a school become eligible for a hardware lab?

Datacenter Academy locations are selected by Microsoft using some of the following criteria

  • Proximity to Microsoft datacenter locations
  • Educational institution’s ability to delivery IT technical training
  • Ability to reach underserved populations
  • Appropriate site capacity to house an IT lab including adequate electrical power, sufficient floor capacity to manage rack weight and proper air ventilation

Sustainability Focused


The hardware lab supports Microsoft’s broader sustainability efforts by reusing decommissioned datacenter equipment. In addition to reusing decommissioned racks, servers, and network devices, the labs often repurpose other equipment, such as cable trays and power drops.