Story image

Nadella confident future data centres will be underwater

03 Nov 2018

In June this year Microsoft stretched the boundaries of data centres by dumping one in the sea.

The ground-breaking self-sufficient underwater data centre was the culmination of around four years’ work and is now processing workloads on the seafloor near Scotland’s Orkney Islands.

Labelled Project Natick, the idea was based on the fact that more than half of the world’s population lives within 120 miles of the coast and thus cuts down on latency, in addition to there being an abundance of renewable energy sources like solar, wind, and hydro.

“Energy self-sufficient data centres could be deployed anywhere within reach of a data pipe, bringing Azure cloud services, for example, to regions of the world with unreliable electricity, and eliminate the need for costly backup generators in case of power grid failures,” says Microsoft cloud infrastructure strategy and architecture general manager Belady.

“Our vision is to be able to deploy compute rapidly anywhere on the planet as needed by our customers.”

The data centre itself is around the size of a standard shipping container and is built with 12 racks containing 864 servers, utilsiing a liquid cooling system that transfers heat to the surrounding ocean.

The sealed underwater data centre has been built to last five years and intended to be at least a 12-month experiment, however, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is confident the future lies with the cloud under the water.

Speaking at the Microsoft Future Decoded conference in London, Nadella asserted projects like the 40-foot data centre pod in Scotland could be replicated around the world.

"Since 50 percent of the world's population lives close to water bodies, we think this is the way we want to think about future data center regions and expansion," Nadella said.

And Nadella says it’s not just about reducing latency and energy sources, as despite the project being a four-year undertaking, he believes with their experience it can be done again easily and rapidly.

"It was very fast to build, the entire supply chain of it, from start to finish, was 90 days," he said.

Nadella is proud of the project, labelling it as one of the company’s ‘moonshots’.

"It's unique in the sense that it's underwater, it's self-contained, [and] it's sustainable because it takes wind power," Nadella said.

Aussie company set to democratise direct-to-orbit IoT access
Adelaide-based Myriota has released a developer toolkit that has been trialled and tested by a smart waste management platform.
Apple's AirPods now come with 'Hey Siri' functionality
The new AirPods come with a standard case or a Wireless Charging Case that holds additional charges for more than 24 hours of listening time.
Dynatrace takes pole position in APM Magic Quadrant
It placed highest on Ability to Execute and furthest on Completeness of Vision in the 2019 Quadrant for Application Performance Monitoring (APM).
HCL and Xerox expand strategic partnership
Under the terms of the agreement, HCL will manage portions of Xerox’s shared services, including global administrative and support functions.
Avaya expands integration with Google Cloud AI
This includes embedding Google’s machine learning within conversation services for the contact centre, enabling integration of AI capabilities.
Forrester names Crowdstrike leader in incident response
The report provides an in-depth evaluation of the top 15 IR service providers across 11 criteria.
Poly appoints new A/NZ managing director, Andy Hurt
“We’re excited to be bringing together two established pioneers in audio and video technology to be moving forward and one business – Poly."
Gartner: NZ server grows at same rate as shipments decline
In New Zealand, server revenue grew by almost 50% in the 4Q18 compared to the same quarter of 2017, while shipments declined 43.3%.