The following is an excerpt from David Goldman | February 1, 2016 | CNN.com |
Water and electronics usually don't mix. But Microsoft thinks dumping computers in the ocean might be the wave of future.
Microsoft just finished a three-month experiment operating an underwater data center. A server rack with the power of about 300 PCs was placed into a water-tight steel cylinder and lowered into the ocean off the coast of central California.
The wacky experiment was launched because current data centers are woefully inefficient. They're built where energy and land are cheap (not close to where people actually live). And they waste so much energy cooling their massive computers.
The ocean can solve those problems. Ocean currents can produce enough energy to power the sub-sea data centers. The cold ocean floor sufficiently cools the computing components inside the pod. And since most people live near the ocean, placing data centers under water could potentially increase the speed at which customers could access the information stored in Microsoft's cloud.
The experiment was so successful that Microsoft operated the underwater data center for 75 days longer than it had planned to. It even began running actual customers' workloads on it, according to Peter Lee, corporate vice president of Microsoft Research NExT.
Microsoft has since fished the experimental data center out of the water for analysis. The next step is to get a larger pod, with about four times the computing power, under the ocean for testing.
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