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Data Centers: Building Out the Oceans with Data Centers

By Dick Weisinger

Microsoft is experimenting with cleaner and more efficient ways of building data centers.

In their most recent experiment they’ve dropped into the ocean near the Orkney Islands a mini data center housed in a structure the size of a shipping container with 864 servers in 12 racks and 27.6 petabytes of data.  The computing power of the pod is rated as more performant than thousands of high end PCs.

The idea is that the waters of the ocean can provide cooling, and it can be powered by wind, solar and water current energies.  The fact that most people live within 200 kilometers from the ocean, that placing data centers just off shore will bring the data closer and have less latency.

Microsoft’s goal is to create “self-sufficient underwater data centers that can deliver lightning-quick cloud services to coastal cities using experimental, shipping-container-sized prototypes.”  A Microsoft spokesperson said that “it’s our belief that this type of data center could lead to reduced costs, and simpler structures that incorporate fewer materials, requiring less maintenance and electricity.”

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