Inside are 12 racks containing 864 standard Microsoft data center servers and 27.6 petabytes of storage. It's estimated that half of the world's population live within 120 miles of a coast, so off-shore data centres could lead to faster web browsing, streaming and a boost for AI-driven technologies.
Moreover, Microsoft believes that placing data centers under the sea will also help fight corrosion, which remains a major problem on land. But it also means that it is not possible to fix the servers if any components break.
Two years back, Microsoft first revealed its research project Project Natick which explored the possibility of running a datacentre under water.
"We've got so much renewable energy here", he said.
Microsoft's Project Natick aims to lessen the environmental impact of data centers by submerging them in coastal waters to keep them cool and provide coastal communities with better service.
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There have been some apprehensions about an energy explosion in Orkney with the coming of Microsoft's data centers, but EMEC's chief Neil Kermode put those worries to rest.
Project Manager for the Natick project, Ben Cutler, commented: "When you are in this kind of exponential growth curve, it tells you that most of the datacenters that we'll ever build we haven't built yet".
Producing and deploying a subsea data center takes Microsoft about 90 days.
The presence of EMEC, with its expertise in renewable energy and its knowledge of the seas around Orkney, was one factor behind Microsoft's decision to choose this location. And because oceans are uniformly cool below a certain depth, keeping the machines under the sea would cut down the cooling costs that make up a large chunk of the operating budget of data centers. Consider that compared to the many months or even years it takes to approve and develop an on-land data center and you can see why this is attractive.
"Almost half of the world's population lives near large bodies of water", Cindy Rose, Microsoft's United Kingdom chief executive, said in a blog post Wednesday.