After successfully dropping a slightly smaller, 30-foot data center pod into the sea off the coast in California in 2016, where it ran Azure cloud services from the seabed, Microsoft has entered phase two of its push to eventually place undersea data centers near coastal cities worldwide at about 120 miles of the coast. As part of phase two of ‘Project Natick,’ Microsoft has now placed a 40-foot data center pod underwater off the coast of Orkney, Scotland.
Project Natick is intended to ramp up the rollout of easy-deployable, prepackaged data center modules all over the world. Microsoft has the vision that offshore data centers might provide an efficient, low latency solution for delivering cloud-based Artificial Intelligence (AI) applications and online gaming content to end users worldwide. It actually brings the cloud closer to customers.
The data center pod in Scotland with an anticipated lifespan of 5 years (although Microsoft claims these undersea data centers to be built to last up to 20 years) has been placed at a depth of 117 feet. This 40-foot data center contains 12 cabinets in which 864 servers are being housed in total. The interior of this data center pod consists of standard data center racks with cooling systems attached. Microsoft’s prototype data center has a power cable connection leading to the Orkney electricity grid. The data center with a quarter of a megawatt capacity is 100% powered by renewables including wind and solar energy.
Phase two of Microsoft’s ‘Project Natick’ started yesterday with the 40-foot data center module being dropped on the seafloor near the Orkney Islands in Scotland. You can watch it all in the following VIDEO.