Microsoft announces the start of the second phase of Project Natick a research project that aims to build an underwater data center. The demand for data centers is increasing exponentially. Technology companies are looking for data storage solutions that offer speed for their customers while being more environmentally friendly. Project Natick has the potential to create a new wave of data centers that can be deployed quickly and cheaply, and that can increase the data rates along the coastal regions.
More than half of the world’s population lives within a radius of about 190 kilometers from the coast. By placing the data centers in the water on the coast, the distance of the data transfer becomes shorter. This can lead to faster connections for video streaming, gaming and AI-driven technologies.
Over the next 12 months, the Project Natick team will monitor and track the performance of the data center. The first phase of Project Natick showed that the concept of underwater data centers is feasible. In the second phase, it will be investigated whether the concept is logistically, ecologically and economically feasible.
The 40-meter data center is loaded with 12 racks with a total of 864 servers and associated cooling system infrastructure. The data center was assembled and tested in France and then shipped to Scotland. There it is now at the European Marine Energy Center.