Friday, 30th October 2020

Pouring seawater on data centre sustainability

Microsoft has announced that it has found underwater datacenters are reliable, practical and use energy sustainably.

In spring 2018, Project Natick saw the company deploy a datacenter 117 feet deep to the seafloor off the coast of Scotland, Orkney Islands.

After 25 months of successful operation, the vessel was retrieved this July and found that a sealed container located on the ocean floor is a more stable environment and eight times more reliable than on land.

Other key learnings of Project Natick include:

·Underwater datacentres can run well on what most land-based datacenters consider an unreliable grid, meaning in future we may not need as much infrastructure for datacenters

·With the high reliability of the servers and few failing early, less replacement parts may be required meaning the data centre can run more sustainably

·With more than half the world’s population living within 120 miles of the coast, putting datacenters underwater near coastal cities can lead to fast and smooth web use

The lessons from the Project are now informing conversations about how to make datacenters use energy more sustainably.

More details on the project will be published in the Autumn issue of Data Centre Solutions, a Digitalisation World publication.

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