Microsoft Tests Underwater Data Centre

Media playback is unsupported on your device                  Media captionWATCH Microsoft's underwater data centre

This is a lot smaller than the conventional data centers that can cover the enter distance of a football field, some 300-feet. Microsoft staff will be monitoring the data center for the next year to see how it survives under water.

Microsoft has deployed a submarine-like data center off the coast of Orkney in Scotland, housing hundreds of servers under the sea with the aim of boosting internet speeds and improving environmental sustainability.

Data now lives in a cloud and under the sea.

As Phys.org noted, the Northern Isles data center consists of a 40-foot (12.2-meter) long white cylinder containing 12 racks and 864 servers - but that's enough space to contain as many as 5 million movies. Cooling is a major cost in any large-scale computing operation, so the ocean's naturally low temperatures reduce the money and energy needed to maintain the servers that connect other computers to the internet. Naval Group has always invested in research and development, most recently in Marine Renewable Energies.

The experiment named Project Natick is a "year-long research effort to investigate manufacturing and operating environmentally sustainable, prepackaged datacenter units that can be ordered to size, rapidly deployed and left to operate lights out on the seafloor for years", says Microsoft. The company says that almost 50% of the world population lives near the coast so why shouldn't our data be there. That means Microsoft's data center, which has its electricity supply delivered through an undersea cable, is also not adding to the ever-growing carbon emissions that are driving climate change.

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During that time, the performance of the facility will be closely monitored, Microsoft wrote in a blog post outlining the project.

The deployment falls under the remit of software giant's Project Natick initiative, which Computer Weekly first reported on in February 2016, and is focused on determining how feasible it would be to build underwater datacentres powered by offshore renewable energy sources.

The company hopes that the oceans floors, which are consistently cold, offer free access to cooling, and will bring faster internet to people in more remote parts of the world.

The datacentre, which was assembled and tested in France, can hold data and process information for up to five years without maintenance, Microsoft claimed.

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