Industry veteran Jim Smith is joining Microsoft, where he will help the company expand its massive network of cloud data centers.
Smith will join Microsoft infrastructure team as General Manager for Site & Infrastructure Acquisition, heading the company’s data center land, lease and network negotiations and acquisitions.
Smith previously spent 11 years as a key player at Digital Realty Trust, the world’s largest operator of data centers and technical real estate, rising to Chief Technical Officer. Smith owns deep experience in building and leasing data centers, which will be valuable to Microsoft as it pursues both strategies in expanding its cloud infrastructure.
Smith will report to Christian Belady, Microsoft’s General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Strategy and Architecture, who has worked with Smith on industry initiatives on efficiency and sustainability.
“Christian has known Jim for many years and is truly excited to have him bring his wealth of experience and knowledge of the provider side to help Microsoft continue to innovate its business to deliver an ever-increasing quality of service,” the company said in a statement.
During Smith’s time at Digital Realty, he led teams that delivered more than 300 megawatts of data center projects, totaling more than $4 billion of capital investment. Smith left the company in August 2015 as part of a reorganization. His lengthy experience in the data center industry includes stints working for 360networks, COLO.com and Verio.
Smith has also recently become involved with Infrastructure Masons, a non-profit group of data center professionals founded by former eBay executive Dean Nelson to advance industry innovation and best practices. Both Smith and Belady are on the group’s advisory board, which also includes data center luminaries like Google’s Joe Kava, Facebook data center VP Tom Furlong, Switch CEO and Founder Rob Roy, and eBay infrastructure head Eddie Schutter.