Back in June, Microsoft brought its Project Natick Underwater Datacenter plans to the prototype stage. The project is a major step towards the company’s goal of an efficient datacenter that operates underwater. Located off the coast of Scotland, the capsule holds 27.6 petabytes of storage.
Microsoft’s 40-foot long Project Natick capsule currently sits in 117 feet of water, so you won’t see it with the naked eye. However, the company wants us to get up close and personal with the datacenter. With that in mind, an underwater camera has been placed on the capsule.
It is worth noting that the Scottish coast is not the Great Barrier Reef. The seas are beautiful in their own rugged and stark way, but it’s not like looking into a tropical fish tank. So, no Nemo on display, but you may see some fish glide through the murky depths.
Yes there are some entertainment kicks to be had, although Microsoft has a serious reason for the cam. The company is using the video feed to monitor environmental conditions near the datacenter. If Project Natick is to be a wider success, Microsoft will have to show sunken datacenters provide little environmental impact.
Microsoft’s newest capsule follows a proof-of-concept center sunk off the coast of California in 30 feet of water. In Scotland, the datacenter is a fully operable prototype to show how Microsoft can use the natural cooling of the see to offset costs.
Installed near the Orkney Islands, the capsule will sit in the water for 5 years. An undersea cable provides the center with power and delivers data to Microsoft through an internet connection. With 12 racks with 864 servers, it is the largest underwater capsule the company has used.