Project Natick is a research project by Microsoft to determine the feasibility of underwater data centers powered by renewable energy offshore. This is not just a normal research project as it promises to bring a bright future to Microsoft’s cloud computing field. In 2018, CEO Satya Nadella stressed that these data centers will be deployed faster, and placing them on the coast also helps to reduce latency when transferring data.
In early 2018, to test the stability of an underwater data center, researchers at Microsoft dropped the 117-foot (more than 35m) Northern Isles data center onto the ocean floor near Orkney Islands. in Scotland. After a long period of testing, on July 9, the data center with 864 servers was taken out of the water and Microsoft announced its findings in the test yesterday.
Thanks to this experiment, the Project Natick researchers announced that their initial predictions were correct. Underwater data centers can improve data center stability even if powered by offshore renewable energy sources.
This is a very important finding for the cloud computing field as data centers often encounter many problems related to natural factors such as fluctuations in temperature, wear and tear. warm. These factors often lead to equipment failures, and require regular maintenance.
Servers attached to the cooling system are inserted into pods to be placed in the deep ocean.
But when the data centers are located underwater, the ambient temperature is also lower and relatively more stable than on land and therefore less likely to encounter such problems. Furthermore, the lower ambient temperature also makes heat exchange more efficient and reduces operating costs.
The benefits of this are enormous. Microsoft said that the failure rate of Northern Isles data centers is only one-eighth that of land-based data centers. This figure shows the stability and feasibility of placing underwater data centers to cater to cloud computing needs.
Deployment speed has also been markedly improved. While building a land-based data center typically takes up to 2 years to deploy due to cooling system issues and area requirements, underwater data centers only take a toll. about 90 days to deploy. This is exactly what the company has been doing since 2018 in Scotland.
What is even more interesting is that during testing in Scotland this data center was used to conduct Covid-19 studies with Folding @ Home and World Community Grid networks.
Perhaps most important, however, is that this data center operates entirely on wind, solar and other green energy at the test site. This is tied to Microsoft’s commitment to “negative-carbon” by 2030 and towards the complete elimination of carbon emissions by 2050.
Now, Project Natick researchers and Microsoft Azure leaders have begun to discuss the possibility of commercializing the plan. Not only to extend Microsoft’s services, this solution also allows the data centers to be located closer to customers. With about half of the world’s population living about 120 miles (about 193km) off the coast, underwater data centers can provide a more stable, smoother internet experience in a variety of tasks, including streaming videos or games to surfing the web in general.
Refer to Neowin