Microsoft’s Project Natick Seeks To (Literally) Put Big Data Underwater

by Gage Taylor

Microsoft Research’s New Experiences and Technologies wing (NExT) recently went public with Project Natick, a data center enclosed in a steel capsule designed to rest on the ocean floor. In theory, if developed at a commercial scale, the concept could represent a massive step forward for data storage, as these centers are more easily deployed, reduce consumer latency (due to their proximity to the most populated regions of the earth, the coasts), and save money on air conditioning and cooling compared to traditional server farms. It may also answer the growing energy demands of the tech world, as Microsoft is attempting to pair the system with either a wind or hydropower system to generate electricity. This could mean that no new energy would be added to the ocean, and as a result, there would be no overall heating, a conclusion supported by the early research. Continue reading