Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella wants to bring data centers under the sea

Polycount

TS Evangelist
Staff member

We've already seen that it's possible to stick your computer components in the dishwasher safely, but bringing your system itself underwater probably seems like a slightly silly concept.

Well, it still is, but that's pretty close to what Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella recently advocated for at the Future Decoded conference, according to Ars Technica. The executive believes the undersea deployment of waterproof "server pods" could be the future of data center expansion.

Though it may sound a bit strange initially, it's a solid -- and proven -- concept. As Ars notes, Microsoft tried out a similar, smaller-scale project in 2016 when it launched a server pod in the ocean near California.

There are a lot of benefits to moving server operations undersea, not the least of which is location versatility. After all, Microsoft wouldn't be restricted by purchasable above-ground land, which becomes more limited by the day. Additionally, data transfer latency could theoretically be reduced quite a bit; Nadella says that roughly "50 percent" of Earth's inhabitants already live near a coast.

It's also worth noting that with undersea servers, there's no real need to build actual facilities. Towering buildings with complex cooling and noise reduction technology would be a thing of the past. Furthermore, if it proves necessary to remove a server due to maintenance issues, it's as simple as hauling it back above the waves.

We can't say for sure how well Nadella's plans will work out, but we are definitely intrigued. What do you think of underwater servers? Let us know in the comments.

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Squid Surprise

TS Evangelist
Not to mention cooling becomes a lot easier, as it's REALLY cold under the sea... Have you not watched Mission Impossible? Data centers will all be under the sea in the near future!!
 

Squid Surprise

TS Evangelist
Except it will drive crazy underwater life forms, and may even kill some.

Any kind of noise-emitting tech should be researched for what effect it may have on underwater life, before allowing to deploy it.
Plus what will they do when giant megolodons get annoyed by it and smash everything in their path to destruction?

Not to mention the mega sharks and giant octopi...
 

Lounds

TS Maniac
Land costs money, buildings cost money, apparently these pods are cheaper and can be deployed within a few months, while data centres on land take a few years to fully go live.
 
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toooooot

TS Evangelist
noise reduction technology would be a thing of the past
Except it will drive crazy underwater life forms, and may even kill some.

Any kind of noise-emitting tech should be researched for what effect it may have on underwater life, before allowing to deploy it.
Would be sad if that happened. Lowering costs of data centers by killing things we share this planet with isn't something a civilized and advanced country should do.
 

onestepforward

TS Booster
Except it will drive crazy underwater life forms, and may even kill some.

Any kind of noise-emitting tech should be researched for what effect it may have on underwater life, before allowing to deploy it.
I guess that we will need a smart scientist to invent something that might be called "sound proofing". Not only will it be able to be used in these data centres, but also in recording studios and in cars to reduce sound. There's no end to the possibilities! I just hope to live long enough to see it happen. /s
 

VitalyT

Russ-Puss
Plus what will they do when giant megolodons get annoyed by it and smash everything in their path to destruction?

Not to mention the mega sharks and giant octopi...
I was initially thinking smaller, like jellyfish. Some innocently humming devices can attract jellyfish, others can scare it away. Either way, we shouldn't dump things in the water that we do not understand what it does to underwater life, since so much of it relies on ultrasounds.
 

gamoniac

TS Evangelist
Except it will drive crazy underwater life forms, and may even kill some.

Any kind of noise-emitting tech should be researched for what effect it may have on underwater life, before allowing to deploy it.
Plus what will they do when giant megolodons get annoyed by it and smash everything in their path to destruction?

Not to mention the mega sharks and giant octopi...
Say the person named Squid Surprise : ) Seriously though, watch out for laser shark.
 
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GeforcerFX

TS Evangelist
Would rather they put them in the arctic areas, cooling is a breeze, power is a breeze (Nuclear, Solar, or wind all good options up there). Distance is the only downside but fiber has become so easy to lay and if the latency wouldn't be to bad there is always satellite. Don't have to worry about noise if no one lives there (other than workers) and don't have to worry about cost since land is practically free up there.
 

stewi0001

TS Evangelist
Platinum
My main concern as well is environmental impact as well. If they are going through with this, I would hope that they would be placed in a harbor. Also, I'm curious what the heat output is.
 

Bubbajim

TechSpot Staff
Staff member
Except it will drive crazy underwater life forms, and may even kill some.

Any kind of noise-emitting tech should be researched for what effect it may have on underwater life, before allowing to deploy it.
Plus what will they do when giant megolodons get annoyed by it and smash everything in their path to destruction?

Not to mention the mega sharks and giant octopi...
Username checks out.