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Microsoft To Put Data Centers At The Bottom Of The Sea

Software major, Microsoft, is on a mission to put all its server farms at the bottom of the ocean bed. No, no, the company doesn't have any bad news for you. It is actually contemplating a new approach that could make data centers much faster, greener and easier to set up.

With the cloud already taking care of our online data storage, the ocean wasn't too far away, we guess.

August 2015 saw engineers placing a giant steel capsule 30 feet underwater in the Pacific Ocean. Inside the steel capsule was a single data center rack, which was enveloped in pressurised nitrogen so as to keep it cool. The crew couldn't reach the center physically, but it really didn't matter that much because the setup worked, so far so that it successfully ran commercial tasks for Azure.

The preliminary results of Project Natick — the testing of a prototype vessel on the ocean floor — have been released after a four-month plan.

[caption id="attachment_103548" align="aligncenter" width="700"]Leona Philpot Leona Philpot[/caption]

Leona Philpot is the name given to the prototype submersible. This can be considered as another shoutout to the Halo universe after Cortana and Project Spartan. According to the reports doing round, the pod was kitted out with 100 sensors so as to measure every minute aspect of the underwater conditions -- be it humidity, pressure and, perhaps one of the most important, motion. The main thought process behind the idea is that there could be a possibility of similar capsules existing beneath the surface, linked to one another in a chain, and continually generating energy from the moving seawater. In the future, there could also be a possibility of the aquatic environment being used to naturally cool off the racks.

Well, not everything is in green here. This theory does have some negatives that will need to be worked around in order for it to be super successful. The most important one is the fact that server farms usually exist inland, which is far away from metropolitan areas. Further, looking from the performance pointbof view, the locations of these servers could prove to be highly inefficient for people who live near the coastline -- in theory, placing data centers offshore could in fact reduce latency for these places.

[caption id="attachment_103549" align="aligncenter" width="700"]The Natick Team: Eric Peterson, Spencer Fowers, Norm Whitaker, Ben Cutler, Jeff Kramer. (left to right) The Natick Team: Eric Peterson, Spencer Fowers, Norm Whitaker, Ben Cutler, Jeff Kramer. (left to right)[/caption]

Microsoft believes that a smaller design could help in reducing the current two years installation time to a shorter 90 days period, making its overall operations more cheaper and flexible. The capsules are themselves capable of adopting to new, innovative rack designs that don't require human interaction.

Microsoft believes that a smaller design could help in reducing the current two years installation time to a shorter 90 days period, making its overall operations more cheaper and flexible. The capsules are themselves capable of adopting to new, innovative rack designs that don't require human interaction.

Microsoft seems to be tackling all the environmental concerns related to it along the line. It is trying to make the data centers fully recyclable, and assures that the current prototype emits a small amount of heat into the surrounding waters.

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