Like all cloud infrastructure providers, Microsoft is constantly looking for ways to better store and power. For this purpose, the company built one data center in the sea in the Orkney Islands of Scotland.
The idea is part of Project Natick, an initiative to identify environmentally sustainable ways of operating large-scale data management units. In the first phase, which began in 2014, Microsoft built a small submarine data center that housed 300 computers. This center was installed in the ocean in February 2016 to test if everything would go well.
This data center operated for almost four months.
In the second phase, which starts today, the company "threw" in the water 864 servers located on 12 shelves. The computers will be located on an underwater platform the size of a container. It is designed to operate for five years without requiring any maintenance.
According to Microsoft, the project is energy efficient, and provides very fast data transfer. The company notes that about half of the world's population lives 120 miles off the coast, so having submarine servers could allow faster access to online services.
According to the company, the underwater data centers will be powered by wind energy, so there will be no interruptions or high costs. Finally, the water in the ocean is cold and thus solves the problem of cooling the data centers without any financial burden.
This particular data center will be monitored for the next 12 months. Microsoft researchers will monitor various factors such as energy consumption, indoor humidity levels and temperature. The company hopes to eventually perfect the system.
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