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WHY MICROSOFT PLANS TO EXPAND ITS UNDERWATER DATA SERVER

 

During the Microsoft Future Decoded conference in London, UK. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella revealed that the company plans to increase the number of underwater data servers. The announcement was reported by some publications both online and offline. However, those present at the conference gave more details in their reports about the next move of Microsoft.

 

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Microsoft believes that the underwater data centers could play a big part in the future of Microsoft Azure, the company’s global cloud platform. The two data centers beneath the waves owned by the Microsoft can be found near California and the off the coast in Scotland.

 

Microsoft’s move for underwater server construction started back in 2016 but the idea was dismissed by some as being at least a little kooky. Despite the skepticism, it turns out there is actually a way out. The first and important consideration is that ocean water provides a natural and virtually boundless cooling solution for the servers.

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The fact that cooling of servers is a big factor that does cost much for any server farm the idea became necessary. In the United States alone, the server farms use up energy equivalent to 34 coal-fired power plants. Another expensive resource is space.  Server farms take up no small amount of land and often are built in cheaper areas, which are also farther away from people.

 

It has become known to the engineers that dropping servers in the sea provides easy solutions to some of the limitations found in other methods especially when it comes to cooling. By calculation, it can be said that almost half of the world’s population lives within 62 miles i.e. 100 kilometers of the sea. Putting the servers in the water near urban centers decreases cost and brings low latency to all, assuming that waterproofing the pod doesn’t immediately eat up the rest of the budget.

 

Nadella’s announcement at the conference means that the move became necessary since 50 percent of the world’s population lives close to water bodies, which is the way they want to think about the future data center regions and expansion.

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Nevertheless, Microsoft believes further that the underwater units can be built and deployed much faster than the above-ground servers can. Theoretically, tidal power can be used to provide renewable power for the aquatic cloud, although this has yet to be put into practice. The current Scottish version “Project Natick” is powered by wind energy. Project Natick also contains no less than 27.6 petabytes of data storage space.

 

The benefit associated with the underwater server could be the main factor pushing Microsoft into it. Despite the seemingly abundant environmental benefits, not everyone is as enthusiastic as Microsoft.

The outstanding benefit for the underwater server is helping reduce the enormous energy consumption use in running other servers. According to expert, the consumption caused by the internet is on the rise and could grow to significantly affect global climate change to become worse.

Though, some environmentalists are dropping their criticism of the Microsoft plan on the condition that heat water discharged into the ocean can cause the temperature of the water to rise. However, there is no known impact such could have to the ocean and its aquatic lives.

 

According to George Adams, the director of energy and engineering at SPIE UK, concerning the Scottish data center. , “running on servers at the edge of the wireless network significantly reduces the amount of pressure on networks caused by applications and data transactions.

 

However, given the huge international concern about the rising temperature of the oceans and the wider implications for the environment, using the ocean as a heat exchange to reduce energy used to cool data centers, could be construed as conflicting with environmental objectives.”

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Originally posted 2018-12-03 11:20:06.

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