In a growing digital world where everything is online, one of the biggest challenges for companies is actually finding the right location and space to place its data centers. Not only do you need data centers all over the place to reduce latency for different countries, but the actual physical space that these need to take up, along with building added redundancy, makes it quite a challenge for many companies that provide these services.
However, it appears that our data center future may lie in the largest spaces available to us on planet earth, with Microsoft performing an experiment by placing a data center in the ocean and the whole experiment proving that it is a viable plan for the future.
Back in 2018, the tech giant sunk an entire data center with 864 servers and 27.6 petabytes of storage, to the bottom of the Scottish Sea, which has a depth of around 36 metres. The company has now reported two years later that the experiment has been called a success with the data centre still operating successfully and that this could be a model for the future, where prebuilt data centers are placed around the different oceans and seas of the world.
Microsoft claims that the underwater data center had just one-eighth of the failure rate of a land-based data center, which was largely the result f the airtight container and cooling. The idea is certainly a workable one, as it would be far easier to pre-build these datacentres in a central location and op them off around the world than build them on land-based locations. Although the rights to have these based in different waters will still be something they would need to negotiate with each country.
The reduced failure rate on the data center is remarkable, though if any of them were to fail, the maintenance of bringing it back to the surface and fixing it could become significantly more problematic, meaning they may want more redundancy in mind to compensate for these failures . Still, I think its a great idea and utilising our oceans in an environmentally friendly way to bring about greater connectivity is a step in the right direction.
Last Updated: September 16, 2020