Microsoft’s Underwater Datacenter Concept is Genius

Microsoft deployed an underwater datacenter to see if how it would compare to a datacenter on land. The results will change the way we look at technology for a long time.

Microsoft Corporation has been in the news quite a bit lately. They’ve had a couple of incidents with its Office, Teams and Azure services. They launched Azure Communication Services. They are collaborating to pioneer change in accessibility features. And now they’ve proven that an underwater datacenter isn’t only viable, but it’s better.

The concept for this project came about in 2014 at Microsoft’s Think Week, an event which brings employees together to come up with out-of-the-box ideas. The thought was that an underwater datacenter could provide super speedy cloud services to coastal people while saving energy. According to Microsoft’s website, more than half of the world’s population lives within 120 miles of the coast. So, if datacenters can be placed underwater near coastal cities, the shorter distance data travels to customers results in faster speeds with smoother experiences across all platforms, including streaming and gaming.

Enter Project Natick. The project saw Microsoft’s team collaborate with Naval Group, Green Marine and European Marine Energy Centre on the manufacturing, design and deployment of the datacenter. The first test was in 2015, when they proved a datacenter could be viable after a 105-day test. In 2018, phase II of the project began when the team deployed the Northern Isles datacenter to 117 feet deep in the ocean. The underwater datacenter would be monitored for the next two years.

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Originally published at on October 19, 2020.



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