By: Tina Rose
Microsoft Underwater Data Center
“The sea is everything” -Jules Verne
Microsoft, believing that the sea holds the key to their future, has tested a self-contained data center that operates far below the surface of the ocean. The key to this study is the millions that it will save on the industry’s most expensive problem, air-conditioning.
Thousands of computer servers generate a lot of heat, and continuing to maintain them effectively and efficiently is the reason for considering water as a cooling medium. Too much heat causes servers to crash, whereas, the possibility of running underwater servers could not only cool them, but cause them to run even faster.
Code-named Project Natick, the answer might lead to giant steel tubes running fiber optic cables on the bottom of the ocean floor. Another option would be to capture the ocean currents with smaller turbines, encapsulated in small jellybean type shapes that would generate the electricity needed for cooling.
With the exponential growth of technologies including the Internet of Things, centralized computing will be a bigger demand in the future. With more than 100 data centers currently, Microsoft is spending more than $15 billion to add more to their global data systems.
While Microsoft is looking to underwater locations to meet their growing computing needs, there are other companies who have found other unusual locations and ways to build data centers, while taking advantage of differing resources.
The SuperNap Data Center, a $5 billion dollar, 2 million square foot facility in Michigan is located in the former Steelcase office building. Switch built the SuperNap Data Center in Grand Rapids within the 7 story pyramid shaped building that features a glass and granite exterior. It will be one of the largest data centers found in the eastern U.S.
Nautilus Data Technologies have developed floating data centers turning to the sea as well. They have recently announced their first project The Waterborne Data Center. They believe that their approach to cooling their data will save Americans who are spending currently over $13 billion a year. According to Arnold Magcale, CEO and co-founder, Nautilus Data Technologies, “The Nautilus proof of concept prototype exceeded all expectations – validating how our waterborne approach will provide the most cost effective, energy efficient and environmentally sustainable data center on the market.”
At a more clandestine location, but also incorporates water as a cooling mechanism, Academica, designed a hidden underground data center to use pumped seawater to cool the servers. An added bonus is that the heat generated from the cooling process, provides heat to over 500 local homes before being regenerated back to the sea.
“The sea is only the embodiment of a supernatural and wonderful existence.” -Jules Verne