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Entertainment Microsoft is planning data centers in submarines

00:30  18 september  2020
00:30  18 september  2020 Source:   zdnet.de

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micosoft u boot © DEFAULT_CREDIT micosoft u boot Microsoft has successfully tested unmanned data centers under water in the North Sea. They are always well-cooled and thus save a lot of energy.

In 2014, Microsoft believed that a sealed container on the ocean floor could offer ways to improve the overall reliability of data centers, so in 2015 the company tested its first underwater data center. After working on its design and proving its functionality, the company set up a container full of servers off the coast of the Scottish Orkney Islands in 2018.

The Northern Isles underwater data center was built by the Naval Group and its subsidiary Naval Energies. The Orkney Islands-based Green Marine was also involved, assisting the Naval Group and Microsoft in setting up, maintaining, monitoring and accessing the Microsoft-operated data center. The data center was established at the European Marine Energy Center, which is a test site for tidal turbines and wave energy converters.

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After several years of testing, the company has now successfully proven that underwater data centers are both feasible and logistically, ecologically and economically feasible. In an blog post , the company went into detail about the recovery of the underwater data center, which was deployed about 40 meters deep on the sea floor. The capsule contained 864 servers and the associated infrastructure for the cooling system.

“The consistently cool underground seas also enable energy-efficient data center designs. For example, you can use heat exchange pipes like those found on submarines, ”the blog post says. After it was recovered, the container was cleaned and sent off for health checks. Microsoft said there were a handful of failed servers and associated cables, but Ben Cutler, project manager in Microsoft's research group on special projects who currently leads the underwater data center initiative called Project Natick, claimed the servers were in the underwater data center eight times more reliable than on land.

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“The team hypothesizes that the nitrogen atmosphere, which is less corrosive than oxygen, and the absence of humans to compromise the components are the main reasons for the difference. If the analysis proves correct, the team may be able to translate the results into data centers on land, ”the blog continued.

Cutler said the team will now devise scenarios for using underwater data centers, such as the joint accommodation of an underwater data center with an offshore wind farm. Other sustainability-related benefits could include eliminating the need to use replacement parts, he said, noting that the servers' high reliability means that the few that fail prematurely can simply be taken offline.

also said the Natick project shows that data centers can be operated and kept cool without the need to tap into freshwater resources. "Now Microsoft wants to find ways to do this for land data centers," he said.

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As the need for edge computing grows, Microsoft says there is also a growing need for smaller data centers close to customers rather than large warehouse data centers.

"We're populating the globe with edge devices big and small," said William Chappell, Microsoft Azure Vice President. “We want to learn how to make data centers so reliable that they don't have to be operated by human hands.”

The Azure team has entered the project and is hoping that it has the potential to enable Azure, customers that tactical and critical data centers must set up and operate around the world.

The results are also incorporated into Microsoft's sustainability strategy for data centers. Microsoft announced its plan to be carbon negative by 2030 in January. Under the plan, Microsoft will take responsibility for its carbon footprint by reducing emissions.

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