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This is why Microsoft decided to sink one of its data centres


One of the biggest names in the technology industry, Microsoft has done something that no other tech magnate has been able to do so far. The tech giant from the US has submerged a data centre under the sea in a move to save on the energy used to cool the servers on land. The company said that it put the Northern Isles data centre off the Orkney archipelago in northern Scotland. Microsoft said that the data centre comprises a 40-foot long white cylinder which has as many as 864 servers. Fact, these servers can store as many as five million movies.

The data centre can lie on the seabed for up to five years. An undersea cable brings electricity, from Orkney’s renewable energy network of wind turbines and tidal power to the centre and carries data from the servers to the shore and the internet.

On its website, Microsoft described the data centre as a “milestone” for the company and wrote, “More than half of the world’s population lives within about 120 miles of the coast.” It further wrote, “By putting data centres in bodies of water near coastal cities, data would have a short distance to travel to reach coastal communities.” According to them, the sea offers natural and free access to cooling. One of the biggest cost of land-based data centres is cooling.

Not only does it save energy, deploying a data centre offshore saves money when compared to building one on the land. However, not everything is upside if you sink a data centre. The possible downside is that if computers need some fixing then it cannot be done. The Northern Isles data centre is comparatively very small compared to the giant warehouses that are used to store the world’s information. The cylinder in which the servers are kept was built by shipbuilding company Naval in France. It was later driven to the Orkney Islands, an archipelago of around 70 islands.

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