Nowadays, it seems companies are adapting to the surrounding medium by building their data centers in places we might consider to be quite bizarre. Several underwater data centers are tested by Microsoft in order to reduce the latency of the previously mentioned data.
This is not the first time a big company constructs or moves these centers in a special location. Google has one in Hamina, Finland, that uses water from the freezing Bay of Finland to cool down. Facebook also owns one close nearby in Lulea, Sweden for the same purposes. Furthermore, the social media mogul plans to open another data center in Clonee, Ireland, that will rely on the wind energy available in the region.
But what is the true purpose of Microsoft? The company plans to reduce the latency of data transmission for users living by the sea or the ocean. The project was started about two years ago in 2014, when Sean James, a Microsoft employee, submitted the idea after working on a submarine belonging to the US Navy. Firstly, a prototype vessel operated between August and November 2015 near the U.S. Pacific coast. This was followed by Project Natick, the experiment for subsea data center.
Researchers state that the project is in its early phase and thus they cannot assume whether the concept will be successful or not for Microsoft or cloud service providers. Project Natick, named after one town situated in Massachusetts, is the living proof of the company’s mission to provide cloud datacenter solutions for lower costs, rapid provisions and high responsiveness. Microsoft is also trying to make data centers environmentally sustainable.
The underwater data center will be particularly useful for all people living within 200 km from the sea or the ocean, thus offering access to renewable power sources and cooling, but also a controlled environment. Furthermore, such a data center has the ability of being deployed in only ninety days.
As for the future, Microsoft believes an underwater data center can resist for about twenty years, after which it can be recycled or salvaged. A new testing project will commence next year either in Northern Europe or near Florida. As new underwater data centers are tested by Microsoft, we are once again witnessing the terrific advancement of technology. However, it also seems we are finally trying to coexist with the surrounding nature and make use of its limitless power.
Image Source: Colossal