The Many Intricacies of Microsoft's Underwater Data Centers

The firm is submerging its data centers to keep them cool.
Loukia Papadopoulos

Slowly but surely, everything is moving to the cloud making our data more accessible and secure. But as we make this move, we start to need increasingly more data centers. Ideally, these servers will also be as close as possible to their users for super-fast access and powered by clean energy for the sake of our environment.

This has led Microsoft to try installing data centers on the ocean floor. 

Microsoft’s Project Natick team proved the underwater datacenter concept was feasible during a 105-day deployment in the Pacific Ocean in 2015. Phase II of the project included contracting with marine specialists in logistics, ship building and renewable energy to show that the concept is also practical.

The location was ideal for this experiment due to its relatively cool waters and close access to a power grid that was sourced from solar and wind power meeting Microsoft’s energy-saving and sustainability objectives.

The submerged data center was equipped with 12 racks, 864 servers, and 27.6 petabytes of storage.

How well did the experiment go? How many data centers have been submerged since then? What is the engineering and technology behind these submerged data centers? We answer all these questions and more in our video and bring you footage of Project Natick.

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