Microsoft trial underwater data centre

Project Natick is an initiative from Microsoft to move your data under the sea. If you’re not familiar with how a data centre works, this might sound like a particularly stupid idea but it’s actually pretty ingenious.

Data centres are important. They house some of our favourite websites and ensure we get a better experience in terms of speed on the web. However they’re also big, unwieldy and, most importantly, hot. The heat generated by the servers contained within data centres is significant and plenty of resource and energy is spent on keeping them cool.

Microsoft have therefore made the leap and produced a data centre that can live underwater! Water cooling is common in computing, Microsoft have simply taken it one-step further…

Project Natick - the team bringing you underwater data centre tech
Project Natick – the team bringing you underwater data centres

Unveiled this morning, Microsoft have developed a steel container that houses all the electricals and can be deployed in 90 days – far quicker than the time required to build a land-based data centre. Christened the Leona Philpot, this initial launch has been described as ‘very successful’. With distance to a data centre being a key consideration in many cases, being able to deploy these data-subs would be of huge benefit given mankind’s tendency to live near the sea.

Environmental factors would hopefully not be an issue either. It’s reported that the capsules such as the Leona Philpot only affect the water temperature within ‘a few inches’ of the device; of course if this is still true when there are hundreds of the things in the water remains to be seen. In terms of maintenance, Microsoft envision the electronics being replaced every 5 years, with the capsules themselves lasting a lot longer.

In any case, it’s an interesting and innovative initiative that might have far-reaching consequences in the world of data. If nothing else, it will mean mermaids everywhere will be brushing off their old sysadmin qualifications in preparation for a cushy maintenance role with Microsoft.

Source: Project Natick

James Oliver

I have a keen interest in anything from the original Star Wars trilogy through to the Star Wars Expanded Universe – as well as everything that encompasses. Mostly interested in things which fly or make noise (ideally both), I like playing with new gadgets and buying phones on a whim.

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