Microsoft's Data Centre Willingly Gets in the Sea

Ivan Schwartz
June 8, 2018

Not only does it not require any additional energy to cool the center, the power it does draw is not contributing to climate change. The company hopes that it'll eventually ideal this system of deploying data centers that are cheaper to run for years on end. Then the company will let some customers use the data center. An undersea cable powers the data center, providing it with an internet connection as well. In 2013, Facebook began utilizing the frigid temperatures of northern Sweden to cool its Luleå data center.

'By putting data centers in bodies of water near coastal cities, data would have a short distance to travel to reach coastal communities, ' Microsoft says.

Spencer Fowers of Microsoft's special projects research group seals a logo onto Project Natick's Northern Isles datacenter in preparation for deployment.

The world's oceans at depth are consistently cold, offering ready and free access to cooling, which is one of the biggest costs for land-based datacenters. To that end, it's now deployed a data center on the seafloor off the Orkney Islands in Scotland.

The servers will receive renewable energy through an undersea cable which will also carry data back to shore.

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The idea is part of Project Natick, an initiative to identify environmentally sustainable ways of running large-scale data management units. Microsoft says almost half the world's population lives within 150 km (120 miles) of the ocean.

This marks the second phase of Project Natick, which kicked off in 2015 when Microsoft unloaded a mini-data center off the central California coast, where it ran for 105 days.

"When I first heard about this I thought, "Water...electricity, why would you do that?'" said Ben Cutler, the project manager who led the team behind the experiment, in a story about the project on Microsoft's new site".

The cylindrical storage container is loaded with 12 racks containing a total of 864 servers and has a self-sustaining cooling system that Microsoft has adapted from the heat-exchange process used in submarines.

Microsoft notes that more than half of the world's population lives within 120 miles of the coast, and submerging a prepackaged data center in the ocean would be easier than constructing a land-based facility.

Other reports by GizPress

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