Microsoft sinks eco-friendly data centre off Scottish coast

Microsoft’s effort to build underwater datacenter reaches next phase

Microsoft’s effort to build underwater datacenter reaches next phase

This area generates 100% of their energy from wind, solar, and tidal sources which mean the Microsoft data center is running totally on renewables via an undersea cable.

Still, the economic and environmental perks of subsea data centers could someday encourage companies to implement the technology on a large scale.

Microsoft has sunk an ocean-based data centre to the sea floor in Orkney to test energy efficiency improvements.

The submerged data center includes 864 servers and 27.6 petabytes of storage - or almost 28 million gigabytes.

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

According to Lee, everything learned from the deployment - and operations over the next year and eventual recovery - will allow the researchers to measure their expectations against the reality of operating underwater data centres in the real world.

The Northern Isles data center consists of a 40-foot (12.2 metre) long white cylinder containing 864 servers - enough to store five million movies - and can lie on the seabed for up to five years.

"We've got so much renewable energy here", he said.

Microsoft has leveraged the technologies of submarines and renewable energy to plunge a 40ft-long datac entre into the sea near Scotland's Orkney Islands.

In the next 12 months, the team will be monitoring the performance of the data center, even if it has been created to operate for over 5 years without the need for maintenance.

Microsoft said that for now, Project Natick is an applied research project, focused on determining the economic viability of operating containerised data centres offshore near major population centres to provide Cloud computing for a world increasingly dependent on Internet connectivity.

Microsoft executive Cindy Rose said she hopes the work will be replicated at other data centers in the future.

The underwater data center was built by Microsoft's Natick, a project dedicated to making such environmentally-friendly facilities. The system pipes seawater directly through the radiators on the back of each of the 12 server racks and back out into the ocean. One of the more interesting possibilities it is now exploring is the use of a self-sustaining undersea data centre, which could simply be dropped on the ocean floor near a population centre.

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