Microsoft, who manages more than 100 data centers around the world, has completed testing of a self-contained data center prototype that can operate hundreds of feet below the surface of the ocean.
The New York Times reported that the prototype was a “large white steel tube, covered with heat exchangers, with its ends sealed by metal plates and large bolts” and “a single data center computing rack that was bathed in pressurized nitrogen to efficiently remove heat from computing chips” inside.
For 105 days it was “placed 30 feet underwater in the Pacific Ocean off the Central California coast near San Luis Obispo,” but was “controlled from offices on the Microsoft campus” and “proved more successful than expected” according to The New York Times.
The New York Times reported that the Microsoft research group has “started designing an underwater system that will be three times as large, […] built in collaboration with a yet-to-be-chosen developer of an ocean-based alternative-energy system,” and a new trial is expected to begin next year.
Putting data centers underwater would be a huge benefit in many areas, such as having the access to free ocean water cooling for the data centers (which would save on the electric bill), as well as the ability to harvest electricity from “the movement of seawater,” adds The New York Times.
“Microsoft is considering pairing the system either with a turbine or a tidal energy system to generate electricity,” according to The New York Times.
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