Microsoft reclaimed a 40-foot-tall, 12-rack, self-contained underwater data center from its Seafloor home offshore from Orkney Island earlier this summer.
Recovery of Northern islands Launched the final phase of Microsoft’s Project Natick research initiative, exploring the concept of deploying seal server pods to major population centers simply as a replacement for traditional offshore data centers.
Why put servers under water?
Project NETIC has been running for many years; We cover a two-month trial deployment Leona philpottThe company’s first underwater server pod in 2016, and the deployment of the newly recovered Orkney Isles pod in 2018.
The potential disadvantage of sealed underwater “data centers” is obvious – they have to be extremely reliable, as they cannot be serviced on a regular basis. Something less spontaneous is the advantage of vicissitudes, of course – they have no wandering humans moving around them, potentially removing cables, unplugging things, or otherwise of anarchy. Is injecting.
These miniature underwater data centers have more advantages. Seafloor-based pods do not require expensive commercial real estate, and they receive almost free cooling from the surrounding seawater.
Logistic benefits may also be more important than cooling or immediate financials. It takes significant time and special effort to acquire and develop commercial real estate for a traditional data center in a major city – building a sealed pod and deploying it to a nearby seashore is fairly straightforward And should be faster.
Retrieving Northern islands
Northern islands The Underwater Data Center Pod was built by the Naval Group (a defense and renewable marine energy contractor) and is locally supported by Green Marine, an Orkney Island-based marine engineering and operations firm. It spent two years underwater at the European Marine Energy Center, where tidal drops reach 9mph and storm waves reach 60 feet or more.
Both deployment and recovery Northern islands Particularly cool weather and a full day of meticulous work is required which include the gantry barge between the robot and the winery. Within two years of watering the pod, it acquired a coating of algae and barnacles, as well as cantaloupe-sized sea anemones forming sheltered nook colonies at its base.
Analysis of results
Before slipping the 12-rack, 864-server data center unit out of the hull of the pod, Microsoft researchers sampled internal air from the still-seal pod for analysis in Redmond. “We filled it with dried nitrogen, so the atmosphere there is very gentle,” said Microsoft Special Project researcher Spencer Fowers. After two years of deployment the air analysis will give the team additional information about cables and other equipment.
Deploy aboard server Northern islands Unsuccessful at a rate of about one-eighth, which experts would expect from a single server in a traditional, human-serviced data center over the same period. The Microsoft team hypothesized that the pod was suppressed prior to deployment due to a partially sealed, inert nitrogen environment.
Human technicians have little opportunity for chemical corruption of components, without any oxygen to breathe or without excessive moisture for their comfort. The lack of collisions and jostling by the same human operators also contributes to the unusually low failure rate of the servers.
Stability and efficiency
Successful two-year deployment Northern islands Demonstrates the feasibility of greener, more sustainable power initiatives for data centers above and beyond data center cooling efficiency.
One reason Project Natick team deployed Northern islands Because of the Orkney Islands, its grid is 100 percent supplied by wind, solar and experimental green technologies under development at the European Marine Energy Center. “We consider most land-based data centers to have an unreliable grid, which is capable of running really well,” said Fowers.
Ben Cutler, a project manager at Project Katik, believes that co-located offshore wind farms can deploy power generation in a similar fashion. Northern islands. Even light wind conditions will be sufficient to power the pods, with an edge powerline bundled with the pod’s fiber-optic data cable as the end. Cutler also noted that seawater cooling for such deployments is not cheaper than traditional cooling – it makes freshwater resources important to humans and wildlife.