If you’ve ever been associated with a new data center construction, you’re probably aware of the most important problem data center architects must face: Heat.
Depending upon the geographic regions of the data center, several free cooling options may be available. Microsoft has decided to take the concept of free cooling for data centers one step further, by putting data centers under water.
Project Natick is the code name for Microsoft’s Research and Development project that has been testing the feasibility of building data centers underwater.
By going underwater, Microsoft can use the ocean’s naturally cold water to cool down equipment.
“The vision of operating containerized data centers offshore near major population centers anticipates a highly interactive future requiring data resources located close to users,” states the Project Natick website.
“Deepwater deployment offers ready access to cooling, renewable power sources, and a controlled environment,” the website adds.
When you visit the Project Natick website, the visitor is posed one simple question. If 50% of the world’s population lives near the coast, shouldn’t your data live near the coast as well?
Microsoft says that they have been working on Project Natick since 2014. The team says that they have made several successful tests. One example included a capsule that contained a single server rack along with pressurized Nitrogen. The capsule operated for over 100 days at a depth of 30 feet near the town of San Luis Obispo.
Microsoft’s team believes that they can use the ocean to provide renewable energy into the data centers.
Originally, Microsoft was planning on running electricity to the capsules from the shore. Now that Microsoft’s Research and Development have more data under their belt, running data centers underwater now seems more feasible than ever.