20 votes

Microsoft shelves its underwater data center — Project Natick had fewer server failures compared to servers on land

4 comments

  1. [4]
    Deely
    Link
    Interesting, not a word why they stopped project. Probably cost?

    Interesting, not a word why they stopped project. Probably cost?

    Microsoft has quietly discontinued its Project Natick underwater data center (UDC) experiment, which began in 2013. The company confirmed the news with DatacenterDynamics, with Head of Microsoft’s Cloud Operations + Innovation Noelle Walsh saying, “I’m not building subsea data centers anywhere in the world.” She later added, “My team worked on it, and it worked. We learned a lot about operations below sea level and vibration and impacts on the server. So, we’ll apply those learning to other cases.”

    16 votes
    1. [2]
      vord
      Link Parent
      Imagine all of the costs of a normal datacenter. Then make the entire building airtight. That alone, let alone getting power and internet to it, the added labor of working underwater.......

      Imagine all of the costs of a normal datacenter.
      Then make the entire building airtight.

      That alone, let alone getting power and internet to it, the added labor of working underwater.... Underwater welders get much higher pay.

      I can't imagine it was remotely cost-effective. It'd probably cheaper to have them on docked cargo ships.

      11 votes
      1. scherlock
        Link Parent
        Uh, no one is working underwater. This is a "dark" data center. It's a sealed tube filled with servers and nitrogen connected to shore network access and located with off-shore wind turbines for...

        Uh, no one is working underwater. This is a "dark" data center. It's a sealed tube filled with servers and nitrogen connected to shore network access and located with off-shore wind turbines for energy. It was dropped on the ocean then left alone for two years. When a server failed, they just marked it off line and that's it. 6 servers failed in the same time a normal data center would have lost 8. This was an experiment.

        8 votes
    2. largepanda
      Link Parent
      The main issue is the hardware is evolving too quickly. While the hardware in it might be running more reliably thanks to the quieter environment, that doesn't mean much when it's all out of date...

      The main issue is the hardware is evolving too quickly. While the hardware in it might be running more reliably thanks to the quieter environment, that doesn't mean much when it's all out of date and not worth running in a few years.

      Hauling it in/out of the water to swap the servers out is a massive expense, and so is running servers that aren't cost effective anymore, so you're stuck in a lose-lose situation for continuing to run it.

      7 votes