Microsoft stores data underwater
First ever data centre under the sea could boost Internet usage
The tech giant's latest initiative wants data to live underwater, an idea which could perhaps eliminate one expensive issue - the air-conditioning bill.
Microsoft's Project Natick, is the first ever attempt to test an underwater data centre. The data centre, named Leona Philpot after a character in an Xbox game, was first tested hundreds of feet below the surface of the Californian coast from August to December 2015.
The theory behind this trial is that half the world's population live near coastlines and with a data centre close by, it could improve the performance of cloud-based services and also save money.
However Microsoft's aim is to find energy-efficient ways to store increasing amounts of data is key to this trial. Having a data centre in the ocean eliminates overheating; Microsoft also predicts such located data centres could rely on renewable energy sources which would provide zero emissions.
"The bottom line is that in one day this thing was deployed, hooked up and running," Microsoft research NExT special projects leader, Norm Whitaker, said in a post on the company's website. "Deepwater deployment offers ready access to cooling, renewable power sources, and a controlled environment.
He added: "This is speculative technology, in the sense that if it turns out to be a good idea, it will instantly change the economics of this business."
Microsoft is not alone in experimenting with uncommon data centre environments. In 2013, Facebook opened a data centre in Sweden, 70 miles from the Arctic Circle. The data centre solely runs on renewable energy generated by nearby hydroelectric schemes.
Leona Philpot is now back at Microsoft's Redmond headquarters where it will be analysed.