Microsoft's New Underwater Data Centers

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With Microsoft, your website will be underwater… literally

Microsoft has begun researching underwater data centers, in an effort to quell energy costs and possibly improve Internet speeds for end users worldwide. A few major issues with land-based data centers, like Google’s massive location in The Dalles, Oregon, is that they require lots of space on land, and they suck up lots of energy: roughly 91 billion kilowatt-hours a year. The reason these server centers are so inefficient is because it takes so much energy to keep them cool. The server racks get very hot using up all that power, so more power is needed to keep them from overheating. Microsoft has come up with the idea to move their servers underwater, using the surrounding ocean to liquid-cool their machines. These 8-foot wide steel drums contain Microsoft’s servers, which are wired up to transfer heat from the servers to the ocean. Liquid Nitrogen is also used on the inside of the drums to further cool the machines. Another benefit of deep-sea cloud computing is the location flexibility. These data centers can be dropped off the coasts anywhere, shortening the distance that end user traffic must travel to reach them. Surprisingly, initial tests have gone better than expected, and we may see these data centers become the norm here soon.