Microsoft’s CEO cites underwater data centers in expanding global cloud computing platform

Satya Nadella

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Nadella recently spoke at the Future Decoded conference about the future of data centers; the executive wants to bring Microsoft’s server operations under the sea. The executive believes the undersea deployment of waterproof “server pods” could be the future of data center expansion.

Nadella predicts Project Natick, under which Microsoft deployed a 40-foot data center pod on the seafloor off the coast of Scotland, could be repeated across the world.

At the conference, Nadella mentions that since 50 percent of the world’s population lives close to water bodies, so this is the best way he wants to think about future data center regions. The fact that half of the world’s population lives within 120 miles of the coast and building smaller data centers close to where people live could deliver low-latency data to users that are important for real-time cloud services and gaming.

Microsoft tried out a similar, smaller-scale project in 2016 when it launched a server pod in the ocean near California.
But beyond reducing latency, Project Natick also offers various advantages in how easily and rapidly data centers can be deployed, according to Nadella. Project Natick was Microsoft’s proof of concept for whether prebuilt undersea data centers could cut the time “from the decision to power on” from two years to 90 days.

The big advantage Nadella mentioned is the speed at which servers can be deployed this way, it’s also worth noting that with undersea servers, there’s no real need to build actual facilities. This plan looks really interesting though we aren’t sure if it will work out or not, we are definitely intrigued by the new idea.

Microsoft’s CEO cites underwater data centers in expanding global cloud computing platform