from ars technica
Microsoft retrieved a 40-foot-long, 12-rack, self-contained underwater data center from its seafloor home offshore from the Orkney Islands earlier this summer.
The retrieval of the Northern Isles began the final phase of Microsoft’s Project Natick research initiative, exploring the concept of deploying sealed server pods just offshore major population centers as a replacement for traditional onshore data centers.
Project Natick has been underway for several years; we covered the two-month trial deployment of Leona Philpot, the company’s first underwater server pod, in 2016, and the deployment of the newly retrieved Orkney Isles pod in 2018.
The potential disadvantage of sealed underwater “data centers” is obvious—they must be extremely reliable, since they can’t be serviced on a regular basis. There is a somewhat less intuitive, counterbalancing advantage, of course—they don’t have any pesky humans wandering around inside them, potentially dislodging cables, unplugging things, or otherwise injecting chaos.