Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Microsoft Plunges its Data Center Underneath the Sea

Ever since Microsoft's creation in 1975 it has led the charge in technology and software innovation. Recently Microsoft has placed an underwater data center off the coast of California to try to solve their high priced air conditioning dilemma for their conventional computer servers. By using the cool ocean water, Microsoft can cut their energy consumption significantly focusing this money elsewhere in the company.

As more and more people access their computers, the stress on the computer servers goes up as well. If the servers’ temperature reach a certain point the servers will crash. With the data center located hundreds of feet under the ocean, the frigid ocean floor and water naturally cools the data center never having to rely on an external air conditioning unit. According to Microsoft, if the data centers were paired with off shore renewable resources, the data centers could produce zero emissions. With the data centers under water the chances of the servers crashing is cut significantly. Everyone running their computers through Microsoft whether for personal enjoyment or for business reasons will see an increase in performance from their computer.

By putting the data center off the coast in the ocean, Microsoft also moved the data center closer to their largest client bases. Before, data centers that stored many of Microsoft's computer servers were located far away from densely populated areas where a lot of land was available. Most large cities are near water and thus Microsoft plans to cut the time it takes for the information from the data center to reach its customers’ computers exponentially, and vice versa. In the corporate and social world, speed and efficiency is everything. As Microsoft increases the amount of underwater data centers so does their ability to efficiently provide service for their customers.

However, there are a few problems that come along with the underwater data centers. If Microsoft were to use the ocean floor as a main location for their data centers in the future, the data centers could disrupt migrating and nesting grounds for many marine animals. Furthermore, as the data centers produce heat, the surrounding ocean water is also heated. If more and more data centers are constructed under water global ocean temperatures could rise causing a mass killing of marine life.

Underwater data centers seem to be the solution to many of Microsoft’s  logistical problems. Offering solutions to issues of financially friendly cooling and distance from their largest client bases. However, if underwater data centers are to be the next phase in data storage and processing for Microsoft, Microsoft must allocate the centers efficiently. Keeping environmental impact in mind. There are many pros and cons to Microsoft implementing these data centers, but only time will tell the global impact that these developments could incur.

 Markoff, John. "Microsoft Plumbs Ocean’s Depths to Test Underwater Data Center." The New York Times. The New York Times, 2016. Web. 10 Feb. 2016. <>.

"Microsoft Tests Underwater Data Centre - BBC News." BBC News. 2 Feb. 2016. Web. 10 Feb. 2016. <>.  

1 comment:

  1. I think the cons out way the benefits for this technology. The number one reason is we are already losing too much marine life to climate change and global warming and this will only speed up that process. Is it really worth it to have faster and more efficient computer systems at the cost of the environment? When the ocean heats up it effects all species including humans in the long run. The ocean dictates weather patterns so it could cause hurricanes and tropical storms along with the flooding of coastal cities. Like the article said coastal cities are more densely populated so that is who this will help but this also might make them cease to exist. I do not believe this is beneficial to anyone if these are some of the effects. Another thing is if the cost of saving money on a cooling system greater then the cost to implement all the data systems to the ocean floor. If that is the case then maybe it is worth it to pay to go to the ocean floor and built a data system but otherwise that may be something to consider.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.