Digital Transformation

Microsoft could open up shop on the ocean floor to cool its data centres

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By John McCarthy | Media editor

February 1, 2016 | 3 min read

Somewhere, beneath the sea, Microsoft could set up a futuristic data centre as it looks for a more efficient way to cool its machinery.

Looking to cut a slice from the substantial air conditioning cost required to maintain its data and cloud computing centres, Microsoft is hoping to channel cold ocean water as an answer.

Project Natick could see Microsoft’s Centre relocated to hundreds of feet under the sea, with it resembling a field of jellybean-shaped containers suspended underwater, powered by tidal energy.

Ben Cutler, a Microsoft computer designer working on Project Natick, told the New York Times: “When I first heard about this I thought, ‘Water ... electricity, why would you do that? But as you think more about it, it actually makes a lot of sense.”

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He claimed that the centres could be produced much faster than its standard centres and could be placed in closer proximity to population hubs.

There will likely be a number of environmental and construction issues the company will have to overcome but if it could streamline its computing power it would be in a better place to commit to more philantrophic schemes like its recent $1bn cloud computing donation to NGOs and uni researchers.

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