All over the world, data centres consume lots of energy and water during operations. In order to create more sustainable deployments, underwater centres might be a solution.
The company Microsoft made a commitment to green energy initiatives and it announced recently that it had powered data centre servers using hydrogen fuel cells. The company is now looking into creating sustainable data centres – one in the Northern Isles could become an option.
For two years, Microsoft has been testing a data centre by submerging it in the coast of Orkney Islands. After analysing, it was reported that the servers’ dependability and performance were conclusive.
Using underwater data centres would mean preventing a number of challenges faced by onboard hardware. Indeed, these data centres are exposed to oxygen and humidity that can lead to corrosion, fluctuations in temperatures and inadvertent jolts during maintenance.
Thus, using a sealed vessel positioned on the seafloor could be a solution to improve the data centre reliability. The test on the coast of the Orkney Islands confirmed this theory and introduced a new approach to data centre deployment.
Once the sealed data centre was washed, air samples were collected, and the container was unbolted to remove the internal server racks. After conducting equipment checks, it is believed that the reason for the enhanced reliability is due to less jostling and a less corrosive atmosphere onboard.
Having underwater data centres are also very beneficial. Indeed, traditional data centres usually use lots of water to stay cool, but with the sea temperature, it wouldn’t be necessary as it offers sustainable cooling options. Moreover, underwater data centres near coastal cities would help decrease the distance data needs to travel, meaning that web surfing, video streaming and game playing would be faster.
With the move from generic cloud computing to cloud and edge computing, there is a higher need for smaller data centres located closer to users rather than having large data centres in the middle of nowhere.
Underwater data centres might be the future of the cloud.