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Microsoft’s underwater datacenter experiment finds it’s more reliable, practical than land-based

Project-Natick

Microsoft conducted an experiment in 2018 which sees it sinking an entire data center into the depths of the Scottish sea, leaving a total of 864 servers and 27.6 petabytes of data 117 feet below. After two years, the company has managed to recover the test subject, subsequently finding a favorable result through it.

Dubbed the “Project Natick,” the purpose of the research is to see how the conditions of an underwater environment would affect a data center in comparison to their traditional land counterparts.

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With the latter identified as having issues with elements such as oxygen and humidity as well as the fluctuations in temperature being detrimental to hardware, it was found out that the airtight and relatively constant temperature undersea is indeed better. 

The benefit mostly boils down to a dramatic decrease in failure rate at one-eight that of the land-based data center. Meaning to say that for every eight servers that are breaking on land, only one is breaking underwater.

Microsoft-underwater-datacenter

A lower failure rate does not only mean lesser cost on the part of the operating entity behind the hardware, but also the mitigation of repairs which is difficult to do under the depths of seawater.

Source: Microsoft

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