In early 2016, Microsoft conducted testing of Project Natick, which aimed to install data centers in the ocean. The idea, which promises to be more economical and sustainable, has finally become a reality. The structure was set up by the company in an area close to the Orkneys, islands located 16 kilometers north of Scotland.
For the creation of the data center, Microsoft has developed a kind of cylinder the size of a container, capable of holding 12 racks that keep 864 servers in operation. It is active through solar, wind, wave and tidal energies.
When operating at full capacity, the data center consumes a quarter of a megawatt. In addition, the company manages to spend less on space cooling, since the ocean itself has low temperatures.
Project Natick was developed within Microsoft Research, the company’s laboratory for new technologies. In addition to economy and sustainability, the data center is best suited for being quieter.
The company says the goal is to meet the demand for cloud computing infrastructure near major cities. There is an estimate that half of the world’s population lives up to 193 kilometers from the coast.
In large centers, there is the difficulty of finding space for large structures, which ends up taking data centers to more distant and more expensive locations. A submerged data center near the coast can reduce costs and make communication faster.
Microsoft plans to use next year to track energy consumption, humidity, temperature and sound levels of the data center, although the structure has been designed to last at least five years without maintenance. The company also wants to assess the impact of the data center on the environment.
Check out the Microsoft video on Project Natick: