Wednesday, 15 August, 2018

Microsoft sinks data center off Scottish island

Media playback is unsupported on your device                  Media captionWATCH Microsoft's underwater data centre Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionWATCH Microsoft's underwater data centre
Kenneth Drake | 08 June, 2018, 11:32

As data centers tend to generate a lot of heat, big providers usually try to move them to cooler countries in order to save on energy bills.

If the project is successful, Microsoft hopes to sink groups of five of the cylinders and be able to deploy a data centre offshore in 90 days - doing this on land can take years.

An undersea cable and renewable energy from the Orkney Islands will power the centre and also connect the servers back to the internet.

According to Microsoft, the Orkney project marks the start of the second phase of Project Natick, with the first phase serving to prove the underwater datacentre concept had legs. While it will not replace large-scale. The quarter of a megawatt required by the data centre is provided by 100% renewable energy via the Orkney electrical grid and the cooling system ingeniously relies on the copious amounts of water surrounding the pod to keep temperatures in check.

'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. Microsoft says there are many good reasons for drowning a data center.

This Davy Jones' data centre is the result of a year's worth of research into environmentally sustainable data storage technology that Redmond hopes could one day be ordered to size, rapidly deployed and left to operate at the bottom of the sea for years.


The data center that went under is essentially a 40-foot long tank that's packed with 12 racks and a total of 864 servers.

It will not be possible to fix the computers if they fail, but the hope is that there will be a lower failure rate than on land.

The pods are created to be self-sustaining and, the company hopes, will require no maintenance for a five-year period.

"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 data centre is also very small compared to the giant warehouses used to store the world's information.

The cylinder was built in France by shipbuilding company Naval and then driven to the Orkney Islands, an archipelago of around 70 islands.

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