Microsoft recently announced another successful test of their energy efficient underwater data centre initiative which will cut carbon emissions and help save the planet.
By developing data centers designed to operate under water that let nothing in or out with the exception of our data, the consistently cool temperatures and elimination of human led maintenance means the will use less energy, reducing our impact on the environment.
There can be a bit of a disconnect between the environment and technology, especially with everything being put into the cloud nowadays. Using the cloud requires storage space which requires a lot of energy because of the things we need to create around the data centres like cooling and building maintenance.
An ingenious idea to combat the inefficiencies involved in using the cloud which results in an ever increasing number of data centres, is to place them at the bottom of the sea.
How could plunging data centres into the bottom of a cold, salty sea be a good idea you ask? Well, the reason is the energy saving that’s possible primarily because the temperature underwater is so consistent. There is no huge change between summer and winter, day or night.
Data centres are currently set up as places where humans work to maintain them, which means they need to retain things like oxygen and a decent living temperature. They become prey to things like oxidisation from the moisture in the air and require a huge amount of electricity to power the fans needed for cooking in addition to the power needed for the servers themselves.
The data centres placed at the bottom of the sea are sealed. Nothing gets in and nothing gets out apart from the data that we need. There have already been trials held off the coast of California to see if a computer could actually survive underwater for a long period of time and still be working and serviceable when brought back to the surface.
The test conducted off the coast of Scotland was designed to see if the datacentre could work and be efficient. The Microsoft data centre placed in Scottish waters had an identical counterpart kept on land and maintained in the normal way that regular data centres are.
The experiment saw that the datacentre kept on the water with no human maintenance required had only one-eighth the failure rate of the one on land. A successful deep sea test is great news for the future of our planet. The increasing need for data centers would increase the load on our power stations, consuming valuable resources.
As the requirement for data centres increases, we need more of them. There is no point in having a place on land that requires air-conditioning and all the maintenance like cleaning and is prey to failures when we could just have data centres that are more energy efficient and secure underwater?
As a former mobile phone network would say, the future is bright.