Microsoft's Underwater Datacenter is Retrieved after Two Years

CIOReviewIndia Team | Tuesday, 15 September 2020, 04:24 IST

Microsoft’s Underwater Datacenter is Retrieved after Two Years

Microsoft had sunk a data centre two years ago in a wild experiment off the coast of Orkney. This data center has been retrieved from the ocean floor and Microsoft researchers are putting extensive research on assessing how it has performed all along and what information can be reaped from about it when it concerns energy efficiency. 


They had noticed that, rather than a conventional data center, that the cylinder packed with servers had a lower failure rate.  When the container was brought back from the seabed and kept around half a mile offshore, they noticed that only 8 out of 855 servers on board had failed. "Our failure rate in the water is one-eighth of what we see on land," says Ben Cutler, who has led what Microsoft calls Project Natick.


The team also noticed that without human intervention greater reliability was ensured. Also, rather than oxygen, nitrogen was pumped into the capsule. 


"We think it has to do with this nitrogen atmosphere that reduces corrosion and is cool, and people not banging things around," Mr Cutler says. "We think that we're past the point where this is a science experiment," he added. 


"We have been able to run really well on what most land-based data centres consider an unreliable grid," says Spencer Fowers, one of the technical team on Project Natick.

"We are hopeful that we can look at our findings and say maybe we don't need to have quite as much infrastructure focused on power and reliability."


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