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Thread: Microsoft's Datacenter Under the Sea

  1. #1
    See, the Thing is... Cow Poke's Avatar
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    Microsoft's Datacenter Under the Sea

    Under the sea, Microsoft tests a datacenter


    datacenter MS.jpg

    Project Natick’s 40-foot long Northern Isles datacenter is loaded with 12 racks containing a total of 864 servers and associated cooling system infrastructure. The datacenter was assembled and tested in France and shipped on a flatbed truck to Scotland where it was attached to a ballast-filled triangular base for deployment on the seabed.

    On deployment day, the winds were calm and seas flat under a thick coat of fog. “For us, it was perfect weather,” said Ben Cutler, a project manager in the special projects group within Microsoft’s research organization who leads the Project Natick team.

    The datacenter was towed out to sea partially submerged and cradled by winches and cranes between the pontoons of an industrial catamaran-like gantry barge. At the deployment site, a remotely operated vehicle retrieved a cable containing the fiber optic and power wiring from the seafloor and brought it to the surface where it was checked and attached to the datacenter, and the datacenter powered on.

    Cutler said there were sighs of relief as these risks were eliminated. As if on cue, the last wisps of fog lifted.

    The most complex task of the day was the foot-by-foot lowering of the datacenter and cable 117 feet to the rock slab seafloor. The marine crew used 10 winches, a crane, a gantry barge and a remotely operated vehicle that accompanied the datacenter on its journey.

    “The most joyful moment of the day was when the datacenter finally slipped beneath the surface on its slow, carefully scripted journey,” said Cutler. Once the datacenter made it to the seafloor, the shackles were released, winch cables hauled to the surface and operational control of the Northern Isles passed to the shore station.

    Everything learned from the deployment – and operations over the next year and eventual recovery – will allow the researchers to measure their expectations against the reality of operating underwater datacenters in the real world.


    Apparently, this will be a SEALED datacenter - no technicians - for 5 years, cooled by the sea, and powered by all renewable energy - containing over 800 servers.

    The data center includes 864 servers and 27.6 petabytes of storage
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  3. #2
    Thread Killer QuantaFille's Avatar
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    So, what happens if there's a hardware failure? One stick of RAM goes bad, and they have to drag the whole thing up to replace it?
    Curiosity never hurt anyone. It was stupidity that killed the cat.

  4. #3
    See, the Thing is... Cow Poke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by QuantaFille View Post
    So, what happens if there's a hardware failure? One stick of RAM goes bad, and they have to drag the whole thing up to replace it?
    There have been tremendous advances in failover technology - redundancy upon redundancy, and eliminating single points of failure. Heat is the biggest enemy of servers, and the purpose of putting the whole thing under water is managing the heat.
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    Evolution is God's ID rogue06's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cow Poke View Post
    There have been tremendous advances in failover technology - redundancy upon redundancy, and eliminating single points of failure. Heat is the biggest enemy of servers, and the purpose of putting the whole thing under water is managing the heat.
    I thought the best place to put a server was in an old bathroom closet.



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    See, the Thing is... Cow Poke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rogue06 View Post
    I thought the best place to put a server was in an old bathroom closet.


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    Professor Cerebrum123's Avatar
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    See, the Thing is... Cow Poke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cerebrum123 View Post
    I was thinking SpongeBob and Patrick.
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    Troll Magnet Sparko's Avatar
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    Wait. They are heating up the ocean? Why are they considering this "green" instead of "global warming?"

    They will be melting the ice caps!

  12. Amen Jedidiah amen'd this post.

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