Microsoft has announced that it has been conducting an experiment that involved putting a cloud computing data center underwater. Project Natick, as the effort is called, sank a 10-foot by 7-foot container filled with servers to the bottom of the Pacific Ocean and monitored its performance for three months.
Being underwater offers two key benefits for cloud data centers: low latency and cheap cooling. Because half of the world’s population lives within 120 miles of the sea, oceans are very close to population centers and can offer fast data transmission. In addition, “Cooling is an important aspect of data centers, which normally run up substantial costs operating chiller plants and the like to keep the computers inside from overheating. The cold environment of the deep seas automatically makes data centers less costly and more energy-efficient,” blogged Microsoft spokesperson Athima Chansanchai.