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Microsoft completes test of underwater data centre off the Orkney Islands

Wednesday 16 September 2020 | 10:40 CET | News

Microsoft's Project Natick has found that underwater data centres are reliable, practical and use energy in a sustainable manner. This follows a 2-year project off Scotland's Orkney Islands.

The Northern Isles data centres was deployed 117-feet deep to the seafloor in spring 2018. Over the following two years, the Project Natick team tested and monitored the performance and reliability of its servers. The deployment confirmed that the concept of underwater data centres in feasible, as well as economically, environmentally and logistically practical. 

Microsoft is using the findings from the project to develop its data centre sustainability strategy around waste, energy and water. Ben Cutler, project manager in the Special Projects research group who leads Project Natick, said that the proven reliability of underwater data centres has led to talks with a Microsoft Azure team looking to serve customers needing to deploy and operate critical and tactical data centres anywhere in the world. 

The Northern Isles underwater data centre was made by Naval Group, with Orkney Island-based Green Marine providing support for the deployment, maintenance, monitoring and retrieval. It was deployed at the European Marine Energy Centre, a test site for tidal turbines and wave energy converters. 



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Categories: Fixed
Companies: Microsoft
Countries: United Kingdom / World
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