First the clouds, now the sea. In a technological twist on Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, Microsoft is taking to the deep blue in search of something big. In this case, it is not a quest for a whale but one for cheaper data centers. A new concept by Microsoft Research has devised a more efficient way to bring data centers that power cloud services to half the world’s population. An interesting move for sure. Will competitors Google and Yahoo follow suit?
The THEORY BEHIND MICROSOFT’S PROJECT NATICK
It sounds like a plot out of a sci-fi novel, but Microsoft is in the early stages of putting a data center in the ocean. Not only will it be in the ocean, but it will be held inside a submarine capsule. This submarine capsule will have to function properly without any human interaction for five years. Sounds simple. According to Microsoft, these so-called data capsules will be easily deployed, cost-efficient and better for the environment. Microsoft’s estimates show that these capsules will be ready in a ninety day period. This would make it ideal for when a cloud service needs some extra help, as they often do, around major events. Not to mention the majority of the population lives near the ocean, so latency will only decrease as a result.
WHAT HAPPENED TO GOOGLE BARGE?
If you feel Project Natick is reminiscent of something in the past, you are not all that far off. Back in 2013, Google revealed their concept, Google Barge, right in San Francisco Harbor. In classic Google fashion, this barge was equal parts fun as it was productive. The massive floating data center/party boat featured luxury showrooms and entire floors dedicated to parties with strict VIP access. Apparently, the reasoning behind this toy was so Google can have additional processing power whenever they needed it, but you can be the judge on that.
YAHOO HAS NO PLANS TO KEEP UP WITH THE JONES’S
Despite Yahoo’s constant attempts to remain relevant in today’s market, it seems that their sad, slow decline will continue. At the moment, Yahoo does not seem to have any plans to incorporate underwater data centers into their repertoire. Perhaps nothing noteworthy at the moment, but this could be a potentially groundbreaking opportunity. Yahoo isn’t completely dead, however. Just recently, they opened up a data center in upstate New York dubbed “The Chicken Coop”. Yes, not as cool as a submersible, Bond villain, data center, but apparently Yahoo says its “green”, so that’s cool.