At the start of the year Microsoft tested a prototype data center that can operate below the surface of the sea, tackling one of the technology industry’s most expensive problems: air-conditioning bills.
Today's data centres power the web - from streaming video to social networking and email. They contain thousands of computer servers and generate huge amounts of heat. The servers must be kept cool as if they get to hot, they crash.
Locating data centres under cold sea water could fix the problem, keeping the servers cool without expensive, energy-consuming air-conditioning. It may also answer the growing energy demands of the computing world, as Microsoft is considering whether the system could generate its own electricity with a turbine or a tidal energy system.
The commercial reality may still be some way in the future, but it's certainly an idea that should appeal to us Islanders, surrounded by the sea!
Microsoft called the prototype Project Natick. It set out to understand the benefits and difficulties of deploying subsea datacenters worldwide. It did so by designing, building, and deploying a subsea datacenter in the ocean, all in about a year. This video tells the story.
You can find out more about Project Natick on Microsoft's dedicated research website.
All images and video used in this story: Microsoft