Microsoft needs to place knowledge facilities on the backside of the ocean

Microsoft wants to put data centers at the bottom of the sea


Microsoft is on a mission to place its server farms on the backside of the ocean. Which may sound self-damaging, however there’s technique within the insanity — such an strategy, the corporate believes, might make knowledge facilities quicker, greener and simpler to arrange. In August final yr, engineers positioned an unlimited metal capsule 30 ft underwater within the Pacific Ocean. Inside was a single knowledge middle rack, enveloped in pressurised nitrogen to maintain it cool. The crew could not attain it, at the least not bodily, nevertheless it did not matter — the setup labored, going as far as to run business duties for Azure.

The prototype submersible is known as Leona Philpot, one other nod to the Halo universe (after Cortana and Spartan). Because the New York Occasions studies, the pod was kitted out with one hundred sensors to measure each facet of the underwater circumstances — strain, humidity and, maybe most significantly, movement. The thought is that comparable capsules might exist beneath the floor, linked to at least one one other in a sequence, and regularly generate power from the shifting seawater. Wanting forward, there’s additionally hope that the aquatic surroundings might be used to naturally cool the racks.

These aren’t the one benefits although. Server farms often exist inland, distant from metropolitan areas. From a efficiency standpoint, their places are inefficient for individuals dwelling close to the shoreline — putting knowledge facilities offshore might, in principle, scale back latency for these locations. Microsoft additionally believes that a smaller design might scale back set up occasions, from two years right down to a staggering ninety days, making its operations cheaper and extra versatile. The capsules themselves might additionally undertake new, progressive rack designs that need not contemplate human interplay.

There are environmental considerations, however Microsoft seems to be tackling them. It needs the info facilities to be absolutely recyclable, and says its present prototype emits an “extraordinarily” small quantity of warmth into the encompassing waters. Nonetheless, for those who love the ocean, this might be seen as yet one more encroachment on mom nature. Within the meantime, Microsoft has pulled Leona Philpot ashore — coated in barnacles, unsurprisingly — whereas it designs a brand new prototype that is reportedly 3 times bigger.