Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) seems to be at the peak of its Natick project, which involves the study of less energy-intensive data centers. The tech giant says that it will be embarking on a second experimental data center and it will be off the coast of Scotland. The experiment will outline the benefits, which come along with the deployment of large-scale data centers under water. Equally, it will also be giving a hint of the challenges.
Microsoft has wanted to be part of environmental sustainability for the longest time possible. This is the sole reason that it is opting to be part of Natick. There was also the element of temperatures, which necessitated the need for data centers.
The analyses of an experimental data center
Microsoft’s idea is remarkable. However, it is necessary to analyze how the data centers work and the quantities of energy they consume for cooling purposes. A single experimental data center consumes 240 kW of electricity, which more often than not is sourced from renewable sources. With its 12 racks, which house a total of 864 servers, it measures 12.2 m in length and a diameter of 3.18 m.
Nevertheless, the question is will the mass adoption of energy-efficient data centers have any environmental effects? Will this initiative help in reducing onshore electricity needs? According to Microsoft Research’s Ben Cutler, they have spent a huge amount of energy and time to come up with the innovative idea. The conclusion is that the ocean is a good place for setting up servers.
The local sea life seems to appreciate the experiment
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Microsoft has been seeking for a way of having data centers close to major population centers. Thus, with a majority of people living within 200 kilometers of the ocean, it strategy is as well as achieved. On the other hand, there are hundreds of large offshore wind farms, which will come in handy in providing renewable power as well as the cooling benefits.
Cutler points out on the success of the phase one experimental, which was launched in 2013. The ocean is obviously a very sensitive environment. Apparently, the sea life seemed appreciative of the new move.
Cutler noted, “What we found was that we’re very well received by wildlife and we’re very quickly colonized by crabs and octopus and other things that were in the area.” Meanwhile, the team behind the initiative is studying the economics of Natick.