Why Microsoft is Placing Data Centers Deep in the Ocean

Why Microsoft is Placing Data Centers

Why Microsoft is moving its data centers deep under the ocean? Why is Microsoft Azure planning to move its data centers underwater when the biggest enemy of electronic devices is water? Nowadays, everything runs on the cloud and the demand for cloud-based services is increasing day by day.

So why did Microsoft choose the ocean floor as its new home to meet this growing need?

A new home under the sea: Project Natick

Launched in 2014 at Microsoft‘s “Think Week” event, the idea for an underwater data center was conceived to provide fast cloud services to coastal communities and save energy in general. The first test of the project took place in 2018 in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Scotland’s Orkney Islands.The submerged location was an ideal testing ground thanks to its cool climate and a power grid that can run entirely on solar and wind energy.The data center, dubbed “Natick Northern Isles”, has 864 servers and 27.6 petabytes of storage capacity, equivalent to the computing power of hundreds of thousands of high-end consumer-grade computers.

So why did Microsoft Azure choose underwater?

Why Microsoft is Placing Data Centers Deep in the Ocean
Why Microsoft is moving its data centers

The Natick Northern Isles data center, which surfaced in 2020, showed that only 8 out of 864 servers failed, which is only one-eighth of the failure rate compared to onshore data centers.

Microsoft attributes this success to two main factors: First, because being underwater keeps the equipment continuously cool and second, the enclosed environment, filled with nitrogen instead of oxygen, makes the components more resistant to corrosion.

Microsoft is considering moving all Azure cloud services to their new home, the ocean, in the future.

Microsoft’s innovative approach is likely to set the stage for how other companies will power their cloud services. Its goal is to become a completely carbon negative company by 2030.

What do you think about this issue? Do you think it’s a sensible move?

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