Last Friday, Microsoft sunk an experimental data center into the sea off the coast from Orkney, north of Scotland. The company says that nearly 50% of the world population lives near the coast so why shouldn’t our data be there.
This research project, dubbed as Project Natick, involves a 40-foot long data-center pod that includes 12 racks holding 864 servers and 27.6 petabytes of storage.
Data centers usually generate a lot of heat and companies spend a lot in cooling them. So the key idea behind this project is to research more energy efficient data centers that would save a lot of resources and reduce company’s carbon footprint.
The servers will receive renewable energy through an undersea cable which will also carry data back to shore. However, if anything goes wrong with the servers on board, it can’t be repaired as the cost of bringing up the cylinder would be too much.
Keeping this in mind, Microsoft has designed the pod in a manner which wouldn’t require maintenance for up to five years. Also, researchers on this project believe that there will be a lower failure rate than on land.
This wouldn’t be the first time when Microsoft has tested this idea. In 2015, the software giant had sunk another data center in the Californian coast for five months
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If Project Natick proves to be a success, the deployment times of data center could be cut short from two years to 90 days which will help in making the servers go live real quick.