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Data centers are the "backbone of the Internet," where data and photos from the cloud are physically stored. In 2018, Microsoft sent an experimental data center down to the ocean floor encased in steel and powered by renewable energy.
This summer, when researchers lifted the data center out of the ocean, they found that it was eight times more reliable than comparable land data centers. For this project to be successful, Microsoft brought in outside experts to study the economic and environmental factors involved.
It worked with Naval Group, a French company that works with submarines and marine energy. With Naval Group's help, they built the data center to roughly the same dimensions of a standard cargo container, and the experiment began. Some of the data stored in the center included COVID-19 research.
Now that this phase of Project Natick is finished, Microsoft says that all parts of the vessel and servers will be recycled, and the ocean floor is being restored to the way it was before the project began.
Here's how it went.The concept for an underwater data center was first proposed at a 2014 ThinkWeek, where Microsoft employees can submit out of the box ideas.Microsoft/Red Box Pictures
More than half of the world population lives within 120 miles of the coast, so Microsoft theorized that underwater data centers near large coastal cities could make Internet speeds faster as data have less distance to travel.Photography by Scott Eklund/Red Box Pictures
In 2015, the concept was tested with a 38,000 pound, ten feet by seven feet container. Inside, the data center had computing power equivalent to 300 PCs.Microsoft
Data centers are networked groups of computers that store and process huge amounts of information. They're key to cloud computing.Microsoft/Red Box Pictures
The 105-day deployment in the Pacific Ocean was successful, and Microsoft consulted with experts in logistics, shipping, and other specialties to verify that the idea was practical.Microsoft/Red Box Pictures
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
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