Hot News


Header Ads Widget

The Future of Data Safety: Microsoft's Underwater Data Centers

Hey there, tech enthusiasts! Today, I have some exciting news to share with you. Microsoft, the tech giant we all know and love, has taken a significant leap forward in revolutionizing the data center industry. With our increasing reliance on cloud-based services, especially due to the pandemic, the need for energy-efficient and reliable data centers has never been more critical. That's where Microsoft's groundbreaking project comes into play.


The Experiment That Rocked the Data Center World

On July 9th, 2020, Microsoft completed an awe-inspiring two-year experiment, one that could potentially reshape the future of data centers. They successfully resurfaced what they refer to as their "Northern Aisles" - a 12.2-meter-long steel cylinder that had been resting on the seabed. This remarkable tube was strategically placed 10 miles off the coast of Scotland in the Orkney Isles Archipelago, where renewable energy sources like wind and solar power are in abundance.


The Challenge of Land-Based Data Centers

Traditional data centers face various challenges when located on land. They are exposed to corrosive elements in the air, such as oxygen and humidity, which can lead to expensive maintenance and repair costs. Additionally, temperature fluctuations require complex cooling systems to keep the servers at optimal performance levels. Moreover, constant human traffic for cleaning and maintenance purposes poses risks to the equipment's longevity.


Beneath the Waves: A Solution Emerges

By submerging data centers in airtight, waterproof containers underwater, many of these challenges can be mitigated. The natural coolness of the sea helps regulate temperatures, reducing the need for excessive energy consumption to keep the servers cool. Did you know that approximately one-fifth of a data center's energy requirements are dedicated to maintaining a cool temperature? However, when enveloped by seawater, this demand is significantly reduced.


Unleashing the Power of Flexibility

Microsoft's ambitious underwater project, code-named "Natick," brings unprecedented flexibility to the world of data centers. Traditional land-based facilities are vulnerable to natural disasters and potential attacks, while accessing them poses security concerns. On the other hand, these submerged data centers, nestled beneath the waves, present a whole new level of protection. With over 50% of the global population residing within 120 miles of the coast, this innovative approach enables faster data transfer, conserves energy, and provides lightning-fast access to consumers.


Harnessing Nature's Resources

The project envisions powering these offshore submerged data centers using wind farms, previously deemed unreliable for consistent electricity generation. However, the uninterrupted winds at sea make them an ideal complement. Alongside the fiber optic cables connecting these submerged data centers to land, an intertwining power line can serve as a backup energy source. This concept, conceived during Microsoft's Thinkweek event in 2014, was made possible through multinational collaborations. The French shipbuilder Naval constructed the cylinder, which was then loaded with servers and transported to its Scottish residence. There, the European Marine Energy Center connected it to underwater cables before its submersion in June 2018.


Unveiling the Impressive Specs

The submerged data center, with an internal diameter of 2.8 meters, underwent meticulous negotiations and communications before its sinking. A full day's work was dedicated to carefully placing it on the seafloor. The environment inside the cylinder hosted 864 servers, collectively delivering an output of 27.6 Petabytes, equivalent to a staggering 27.6 million gigabytes! To put it into perspective, this amount of storage could retain nearly 5 million movies or over one hundred thousand MacBooks.


Success Below the Surface

The Northern Isles spent a little over two years beneath the sea, gathering valuable data throughout its underwater expedition. So, what do we know about the project's success? When the same white container resurfaced, adorned with algae, barnacles, and sea anemones, a quick wash revealed surprisingly clean bodywork. From this groundbreaking experiment, Microsoft's engineers and researchers deduced that submerged data centers are eight times more reliable than their land-based counterparts, though they are still exploring the exact reasons behind this exceptional reliability. Interestingly, the dry nitrogen-filled environment within the container may contribute to this extraordinary success, as it is less corrosive than the oxygen-rich air found on land.


The Promise of Reduced Maintenance

Unlike their land-based counterparts, these oceanic data centers are built to withstand half a decade before resurfacing for a thorough health check. During the testing stage, no maintenance was performed on the servers that were taken offline. Microsoft believes this extended lifespan is possible due to the use of dry nitrogen. This remarkable longevity significantly reduces the frequency of maintenance required, making these underwater data centers even more cost-effective and environmentally friendly.


A Sustainable Future

While we await a comprehensive debriefing of Project Natick, work is already underway to restore the seabed to its original state. Microsoft ensures that the steel pressure vessel, heat exchangers, servers, and other components will be recycled, either for their materials or for other operations within the company. It's clear that Microsoft is rewriting the rules of data centers, considering not only their efficiency but also their environmental and social impact. This shift towards underwater data centers may take time to become widespread, but the benefits to our planet and society will be experienced for years to come.



1. Are underwater data centers more reliable than land-based ones?

Absolutely! Microsoft's research has shown that submerged data centers are eight times more reliable than their land-based counterparts. The exact reasons behind this exceptional reliability are still being investigated.


2. Do underwater data centers have any environmental benefits?

Yes! By utilizing naturally cool seawater temperatures, underwater data centers require less energy for cooling, reducing their environmental impact. Additionally, by repurposing underwater structures, these data centers provide shelter and habitats for marine life.


3. What happens to the submerged data center after its resurfacing?

The submerged data center undergoes a thorough health check and maintenance after spending several years underwater. Microsoft aims to maximize the lifespan of these facilities, contributing to sustainability and reduced e-waste.


4. How do underwater data centers benefit consumers?

By strategically locating these data centers closer to coastal areas, data transfer times are significantly reduced, providing lightning-fast access to cloud-based services for consumers residing near the coast.


5. What impact will underwater data centers have on the environment?

Underwater data centers offer a more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly alternative to traditional land-based facilities. By reducing carbon footprints and harnessing renewable energy sources, they contribute to a greener future.



Microsoft's venture into underwater data centers represents a groundbreaking leap in the field of technology. With their remarkable reliability, reduced maintenance requirements, and positive environmental impact, these submerged facilities are paving the way for a sustainable and efficient future. The exciting possibilities they offer for faster access to cloud-based services and their lighter environmental footprint make them an innovation worth celebrating

In today's ever-evolving technological landscape, it's refreshing to see even the most dominant companies show compassion towards the environment. Microsoft's innovative approach to data centers opens up new possibilities for environmental sustainability, economic growth, and social progress. We'd love to hear from you! Are you excited about this new generation of data centers? Do you have any reservations? Let us know your thoughts and be part of the conversation shaping the future of technology and why you're most excited about this new generation of data centers or if you still have any reservations. Together, we can shape the future of technology for the better!

Post a Comment