Submarine Data Centers, a reality that is getting closer to reality

The success of the Natick Project attests to the reliability and efficiency of subsea data centers that could supply hundreds of coastal locations.

A two-year research project with 864 servers running under the sea was completed this summer. The hypothesis of the project was that a sealed container on the ocean floor is more reliable and stable than a land-based facility. The result has confirmed the feasibility of underwater Data Centers powered by renewable energy. For example, the failure rate was up to 8 times lower than expected in a conventional Data Center. The feasibility of the project has also been demonstrated from a logistical, environmental and economic point of view.

Project Natick: Data Centers under the sea

Project Natick emerges in spring 2018 as the Northern Isles Data Center (Scotland) submerged 36 meters deep in the sea. During the last two years the performance of the servers has been tested and monitored obtaining promising data.

To preserve the servers, the developers filled the container atmosphere with nitrogen. For cooling, the cold water from Scotland was used for cooling, and the nitrogen distributed the cold more effectively. In fact, the nitrogen in the atmosphere of the sealed capsule is one of the reasons why failures were fewer than in a conventional data center.

In addition, during these two years the capsule accumulated an extensive layer of algae, barnacles and anemones, thus controlling a harmful environmental impact.

Past and future of the project

The idea for this type of Data Center emerged during a Think Week in 2014. That an underwater Data Center is a feasible project was demonstrated in 2015 during a 105-day deployment in the Pacific Ocean.

The success of Project Natick opens the door to a new network of data centers using renewable energy and harnessing new resources to provide services to the hundreds of coastal locations that may need them.

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