Microsoft’s Underwater Data Center Rises From Seafloor to a Critical Success


Illustration for Microfots Underwater Data Center title article is a serious success from Seafloor

Screenshot: Microsoft / youtube (fair use)

Microsoft’s underwater North Islands data center has grown againM Depth of the sea, company Announced on monday, And it is remarkably intact other than joining marine scum.

Data Center – which Microsoft sank 117 feet under water On the banks of Orkney Islands of Scotland In 2018 – Resembles a large, airtight fuel tank. After two years on the seafloor, it is now blanketed in sea anemones the size of algae, barnacles and cantaloupe. But Microsoft Special Projects researcher Spencer Fowers said in the announcement that the company was “very impressed” at the lack of “firm maritime development”.

Inside, 27.6 petabytes of storage and cooling infrastructure hang elements with a collection of 864 servers In an atmosphere of inert gas – Microsoft noted those conditions European Marine Energy Center The test site may include up to nine miles of tidal currents per hour 60 foot waves during storms. In fact, Microsoft claimed that the devices were better than land-based systems. Project Natick leader Ben Cutler said in a blog post That North Islander experienced a one-eighth failure rate that was expected in a traditional data center and it went “really well” on the region’s energy grid, which is 100 percent wind and solar .

It reflects the seaThe floor is Better for server farms for the top most environments Where gears may be damaged by corrosion by oxygen and humidity, constant temperature changes during maintenance, and physical movement. Keeping data centers underwater can also give customers closer placement and obviously makes cooling much easier., And Microsoft has previously suggested that they may Powered by tidal generator. Units are also portable and can be easily extended Large operation.

An obvious issue is that in situ repair is impossible, although Microsoft wrote in a blog post that servers on light-out datacenters are already replaced twice a decade. company Increased reliability of underwater servers means “Some that fail quickly are simply taken offline. “

Judgment reported In 2018 that the potential environmental impact of underwater data centers is unclear; A unit can have a negligibleIndira gandhi internationalLocal impacted Temperature, but the mass of them may have a noticeable effect on the sealife.

University of Portsmouth Marine Psychologist Gordon Watson ruled. Watson said that any site would need to be evaluated for environmental impact and stated that “I amT is not as easy (at least in countries where they have advanced maritime planning legislation) only to stick something on the seabed and recover it after five years. “

There is also the problem of low returns. Leeds Beckett University School of Computing, Creative Technologies and Engineering Dean Colin Pattinson Told wired In 2018, while underwater data centers are “worth a try”, efficiency gains are reducing over time to reduce power needs.

“Effectively what we’re trying to do now is squeezing more savings from the same basic technology,” Pattinson told Wired.. “We can reduce the rate of growth but will still increase the energy demand that data centers create due to the amount of data we are generating.”

The next phase of Project Natick will demonstrate ease Removal and recycling.

“We are now trying to notice that we have resisted feeling the need to prove anything else,” Cutler said in the announcement.. “We have done what we need to do. Natick is an important building block to use if the company is appropriate. “

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