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Microsoft Finds An Energy Efficient, ‘Underwater’ Solution To World’s Data Center Problem

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In a bid to turn data centre management energy efficient and environment friendly, a team of researchers at Microsoft have developed and are in the process of testing a data centre that can be placed under water.

Microsoft calls this the Project Natick, an energy efficient underwater data centre and is an answer to the power draining data centres on land. It is easy to deploy and does not require external cooling and relies completely on renewable energy to operate.


The Redmond giant wants to submerge these data centres inside Oceans, but near the proximity of the coastline. These data centres are also unmanned and as Microsoft claims, create zero waste products. The servers of these data centres will be powered by a turbine or through the tidal energy of the ocean itself. A similar project preceding Project Natick was launched by the company last year. Microsoft placed a vessel named Leona Philpot 30 feet below the surface of the ocean near the coastline of California for four months from August to November. The vessel has been retrieved by Microsoft and is being analysed by a team of researchers.

The company stated on its website that “Project Natick reflects Microsoft’s ongoing quest for cloud data center solutions that offer rapid provisioning, lower costs, high responsiveness, and are more environmentally sustainable.”

Microsoft claims that every Natick data centre can last for at least five years, and has a lifespan of 20 years. The data centres have to be fitted with new hardware once in five years and recycled after their 20 year life span. Microsoft’s ambitious project is still in its nascent stage, but could be a final solution to meet the air conditioning demands of data centres on land.


Microsoft added that “The vision of operating containerized data centers offshore near major population centers anticipates a highly interactive future requiring data resources located close to users. Deepwater deployment offers ready access to cooling, renewable power sources, and a controlled environment.

Facing tough completion from the likes of Amazon, IBM and Google, who all want a large portion of the cloud computing market, Microsoft started the Project Natick in 2014.

The booming data centre market has captivated the attention of major tech companies across the globe. As per the data compiled by IDC, market research firm last week, the cloud computing sector is a $70 billion market and is projected to reach $141 billion in 2019.

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