Microsoft has successfully tested a prototype data center that is contained in a capsule operable from hundreds of feet in the ocean depth, creating a cool condition that will eliminate heat problems from such equipment - the New York Times reported.
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Data centers are the backbone of everything internet, from video streaming to email to social networking among others, and it powers thousands of computer servers around the world to make digital communication possible.
Code-named Project Natick, the project might be paired with a turbine or even a tidal energy technology to produce power energy such as electricity in the nearest future. To this end, it is also possible that the technology might utilize large tubes of steel connected by fiber optic cables laid at the ocean floor to work, and it could also be suspended in containers placed underwater to capture ocean current that will generate power with turbines.
Although there is the problem of environmental issues and other unknown technical challenges, the Microsoft team behind the project believes producing the capsules in mass quantities would be helpful to deploying new data centers in just 90 days instead of the two years required at the moment.
Setting up the data centers within containers placed underwater would enable internet services to be much faster and accessible to people otherwise farther away from data centers.
“For years, the main cloud providers have been seeking sites around the world not only for green energy but which also take advantage of the environment,” said Larry Smarr, a physicist and scientific computing specialist who is director of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology at the University of California, San Diego.
Microsoft researchers made the data center container to be eight feet in diameter and able to work 30 feet underwater when placed in the Pacific Ocean off the Central California coast close to San Luis Obispo.
About 100 sensors were fitted to the capsule to monitor humidity, motion, pressure, and other underwater conditions – so that researchers could be certain that the equipment would work fine in a severe condition and environment where human technicians would not really be able to easily access for instant repairs.
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The capsule performed perfectly within a 105-day trial without any cause for leaks and hardware failures – prompting researchers to prolong the duration of the trial and to also conduct commercial data-processing projects from Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing service.