Are underwater data centres the future of data storage?
In 2018, Microsoft launched a project called Natick where they dropped a data centre off the coast of Orkney to test if doing so would increase its lifespan and make it more energy-efficient. The data centre Microsoft sank consisted of 855 servers containing 27.6 petabytes of storage. At the end of the experiment, the company concluded that 8 of the servers had failed. On land, the equivalent would have been 64. In terms of lifespan it appeared the experiment was a success.
In terms of energy, the advantage of underwater storage becomes clear if we consider cooling. Servers typically generate significant heat and cooling them requires energy. By placing the servers underwater the need for artificial cooling becomes redundant.
In regard to the environment, underwater data storage seems to have little effect. The heat generated only changes the water temperature some centimetres around the container and the noise is cancelled out by nearby shrimp.
Microsoft concluded the experiment was a success and has been looking to scale up this endeavour since. Curious to know more? Have a look at the full article.
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