The Data Centre Placed Deep Under The Ocean By Microsoft is Finally Retrieved Back To The Surface

Thursday, September 24, 2020

When you think of a data centre the last place on earth that you would probably visualise a data storage facility to be installed would be laying on the bottom of the ocean. Well, this is precisely the prime spot that Microsoft thought would be perfect to trial their vision for a more ‘eco-friendly' internet.

Codenamed 'Project Natick', a 40-ft shipping container-sized cylinder was placed in the Scottish seas off the coast of Orkney back in spring 2018 to effectively test the feasibility of putting data centres underwater.

During it’s two years hidden beneath the murky waters, the cloud-based data centre had powered customers using the Microsoft Azure service, a public cloud IaaS computing platform. Equipped with physical electronic equipment that processed data storage while being protected from the surrounding water, the sea-based data centre was found to have a lower failure rate than a conventional data centres and reduced overall energy consumption.

Microsoft says it’s underwater data centres are 'logistically, environmentally and economically practical' and have enough storage for about 5 million movies.

'We had this theory that if the data centre was in a really stable environment with all the oxygen taken out and no one walking around bumping things then we would see better reliability,' said Spencer Fowers, principal researcher on Project Natick.

'We have got some good data on reliability and we have proven we can do this whole deployment process.

'We have been able to run really well on what most land-based data centres consider an unreliable grid.'

Data Centre Jobs Says

While placing a data centre deep in the middle of the ocean may not seem the most conventional of places, there are actually a lot more practical solutions then you may actually think. From overall reliability of data processing to more environmentally friendly maintenance, the future for data centres it seems may lay on the sea floor.