• Welcome to TechPowerUp Forums, Guest! Please check out our forum guidelines for info related to our community.

Microsoft Underwater Data Center Initiative Project Natick Declared a Success After Two Years

Raevenlord

News Editor
Staff member
Joined
Aug 12, 2016
Messages
3,262 (2.12/day)
Location
Portugal
System Name The Ryzening
Processor AMD Ryzen 7 1700
Motherboard MSI X370 Gaming Pro Carbon
Cooling Arctic Cooling Liquid Freezer 120
Memory 16 GB G.Skill Trident Z F4-3200 (2x 8 GB)
Video Card(s) TPU's Awesome MSI GTX 1070 Gaming X
Storage Boot: Crucial MX100 128GB; Gaming: Crucial MX 300 525GB; Storage: Samsung 1TB HDD, Toshiba 2TB HDD
Display(s) Acer Nitro VG270UP (1440p 144 Hz IPS)
Case NOX Hummer MC Black
Audio Device(s) iFi Audio Zen DAC
Power Supply Seasonic Focus+ 750 W
Mouse Cooler Master Masterkeys Lite L
Keyboard Cooler Master Masterkeys Lite L
Software Windows 10 x64
Microsoft has announced it considers the result of its underwater data center initiative, named Project Natick, a success. This announcement comes after Microsoft recovered its data center capsule from the seafloor alongside the Orkney Islands after a two-year-long deployment. The self-contained server pod (made up of 12 racks and 864 servers) was filled with nitrogen, and achieved a much lower failure rate - component-wise - compared to traditional onshore data centers. In fact, its failure rate was one-eight that of traditional servers. The absence of oxygen and lower humidity levels (no need to keep air comfortable and breathable for human technicians) may have been deciding factors in this failure rate.

There are some obvious advantages from such an offshore server deployment. For one, all that cold water really helps in cooling down the components inside - there's no need for added expense in cooling solutions. There is also no need for land acquisition or infrastructure development that's typically associated with onshore server sites. The fact that Project Natick was fully powered by renewable energy sources, courtesy of the Orkneys' grid - supplied 100 percent by wind, solar, and experimental green technologies under development at the European Marine Energy Centre. considering its success, it can certainly be expected that Microsoft - and other companies - double down on this type of server deployment.



View at TechPowerUp Main Site
 
Joined
Dec 15, 2006
Messages
1,691 (0.33/day)
Location
Oshkosh, WI
System Name ChoreBoy
Processor 8700k Delided
Motherboard Gigabyte Z390 Master
Cooling 420mm Custom Loop
Memory CMK16GX4M2B3000C15 2x8GB @ 3000Mhz
Video Card(s) EVGA 1080 SC
Storage 1TB SX8200, 250GB 850 EVO, 250GB Barracuda
Display(s) Pixio PX329 and Dell E228WFP
Case Fractal R6
Audio Device(s) On-Board
Power Supply 1000w Corsair
Software Win 10 Pro
Benchmark Scores A million on everything....
Weird. Why not just use Canada? It's cold up there too....
 

the54thvoid

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Dec 14, 2009
Messages
8,361 (2.10/day)
Location
Glasgow - home of formal profanity
System Name Newer Ho'Ryzen
Processor Ryzen 3700X
Motherboard Asus Crosshair VI Hero
Cooling TR Le Grand Macho
Memory 16Gb G.Skill 3200 RGB
Video Card(s) RTX 2080ti MSI Duke @2Ghz ish
Storage Samsumg 960 Pro m2. 512Gb
Display(s) LG 32" 165Hz 1440p GSYNC
Case Lian Li PC-V33WX
Audio Device(s) On Board
Power Supply Seasonic Prime TItanium 850
Software W10
Benchmark Scores Look, it's a Ryzen on air........ What's the point?
Hmm. A giant immersion heater for the water.
 
Joined
Dec 31, 2009
Messages
18,743 (4.74/day)
Benchmark Scores Faster than yours... I'd bet on it. :)
I don't think the point of this was location, but a POC that this works.

As someone who was certified to design data centers, this is pretty cool!!!
 
Joined
Nov 11, 2004
Messages
6,845 (1.17/day)
Location
Formosa
System Name Overlord Mk MXVI
Processor AMD Ryzen 7 3800X
Motherboard Gigabyte X570 Aorus Master
Cooling Corsair H115i Pro
Memory 32GB Viper Steel 3600 DDR4 @ 3800MHz 16-19-16-19-36
Video Card(s) Gigabyte RTX 2080 Gaming OC 8G
Storage 1TB WD Black NVMe (2018), 2TB Viper VPN100, 1TB WD Blue 3D NAND
Display(s) Asus PG27AQ
Case Corsair Carbide 275Q
Audio Device(s) Corsair Virtuoso SE
Power Supply Corsair RM750
Mouse Logitech G500s
Keyboard Wooting Two
Software Windows 10 Pro
Benchmark Scores https://valid.x86.fr/33u9si
Joined
Feb 18, 2005
Messages
3,190 (0.56/day)
Location
Ikenai borderline!
I'd be really interested to see the cost/benefit analysis of this. Seems like a clever idea that's unlikely to be economically competitive in the long run, even with lowered failure rates.
 
Joined
Nov 6, 2016
Messages
564 (0.39/day)
Location
NJ, USA
System Name Lightbringer
Processor Ryzen 7 2700X
Motherboard Asus ROG Strix X470-F Gaming
Cooling Enermax Liqmax Iii 360mm AIO
Memory G.Skill Trident Z RGB 32GB (8GBx4) 3200Mhz CL 14
Video Card(s) Sapphire RX 5700XT Nitro+
Storage Hp EX950 2TB NVMe M.2, HP EX950 1TB NVMe M.2, Samsung 860 EVO 2TB
Display(s) LG 34BK95U-W 34" 5120 x 2160
Case Lian Li PC-O11 Dynamic (White)
Power Supply BeQuiet Straight Power 11 850w Gold Rated PSU
Mouse Glorious Model O (Matte White)
Keyboard Royal Kludge RK71
Software Windows 10
What would be really cool is if they were able to use power generation from waves or some other source so that it didn't require outside power and was completely "off the grid" with the exception of data communications
 
Joined
Dec 31, 2009
Messages
18,743 (4.74/day)
Benchmark Scores Faster than yours... I'd bet on it. :)
I'd be really interested to see the cost/benefit analysis of this. Seems like a clever idea that's unlikely to be economically competitive in the long run, even with lowered failure rates.
The biggest cost saver here is the free cooling. At scale it makes complete sense. If they could get free power by the waves/wind that would be impressive (though I am not sure how that would work with all the power a typical DC requires).

I'm also concerned with constantly dumping 10s of thousands of watts into the ocean that is already warming.....but that is another story.
 
Joined
Apr 8, 2010
Messages
636 (0.16/day)
Processor Intel Core i5 8400
Motherboard Gigabyte Z370N-Wifi
Cooling Silverstone AR05
Memory Micron Crucial 16GB DDR4-2400
Video Card(s) Gigabyte GTX1080 G1 Gaming 8G
Storage Micron Crucial MX300 275GB
Display(s) Dell U2415
Case Silverstone RVZ02B
Power Supply Silverstone SSR-SX550
Keyboard Ducky One Red Switch
Software Windows 10 Pro 1909
When it does need a human technician for maintenance, that will be a major pain no?
 
Joined
Dec 31, 2009
Messages
18,743 (4.74/day)
Benchmark Scores Faster than yours... I'd bet on it. :)
Could be. Theres a difference between opening up a data center door versus a boat to bring the thing up and then have techs work on it. That said there are already a lot of redundancies built in so maintenence isn't typically often.
 
Joined
Sep 15, 2011
Messages
5,446 (1.63/day)
Processor Intel Core i7 3770k @ 4.3GHz
Motherboard Asus P8Z77-V LK
Memory 16GB(2x8) DDR3@2133MHz 1.5v Patriot
Video Card(s) MSI GeForce GTX 1080 GAMING X 8G
Storage 59.63GB Samsung SSD 830 + 465.76 GB Samsung SSD 840 EVO + 2TB Hitachi + 300GB Velociraptor HDD
Display(s) Acer Predator X34 3440x1440@100Hz G-Sync
Case NZXT PHANTOM410-BK
Audio Device(s) Creative X-Fi Titanium PCIe
Power Supply Corsair 850W
Mouse Anker
Software Win 10 Pro - 64bit
Benchmark Scores 30FPS in NFS:Rivals
How do you upgrade the servers for example??
 
Joined
Mar 9, 2010
Messages
18 (0.00/day)
Have they made any studies as to how the heat output of this datacenters will affect the quality of the water and the habitat of the surrounding species?
Maybe 1 server will not be enough, but multiple could be a challenge for environment certifications.
I guess one way could be creating artificial lakes for this type of projects.

How do you upgrade the servers for example??
like upgrading a satellite, send a new one into orbit.
 
Joined
Dec 31, 2009
Messages
18,743 (4.74/day)
Benchmark Scores Faster than yours... I'd bet on it. :)
How do you upgrade the servers for example??
just take the container out and put new hardware in............. product lifecycle in most data centers is a couple/few years. if you need something different, down goes another tube with newer hardware.
 
Joined
Jul 5, 2019
Messages
75 (0.16/day)
Location
Berlin, Germany
System Name The old sage
Processor i7 2600k 4.4 Ghz
Motherboard Asus P8P67 Pro
Cooling Scythe Mugen 2
Memory 4 x 8GB Crucial 1866 DDR3
Video Card(s) RX 580x 4GB
Storage PNY CS3030 1TB nvme SSD, 2 x 3TB HDD
Display(s) Samsung 34" 3440x1400 60 Hz
Case Chieftek cx50
Audio Device(s) Asus Xonar DX / Denon D2000 soon to mod it / Fostex T50RP MK3 custom cable and headband
Power Supply Corsair CX 700
Mouse Logitech G5
Keyboard A4Tech G800
Joined
Mar 21, 2016
Messages
604 (0.36/day)
Weird. Why not just use Canada? It's cold up there too....
Same reason they don't do it in America disloyalty and tax loopholes obviously.

How do you upgrade the servers for example??
Far as I can tell you don't you plan to run it til it's more or less obsolete and replace it with a new system to run the same way. Fortunately the cooling extends power and efficiency life cycle of the system while reducing cooling costs.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Oct 14, 2017
Messages
183 (0.16/day)
System Name Lightning
Processor 4790K
Motherboard asrock z87 extreme 3
Cooling hwlabs black ice 20 fpi radiator, cpu mosfet blocks, MCW60 cpu block, full cover on 780Ti's
Memory corsair dominator platinum 2400C10, 32 giga, DDR3
Video Card(s) 2x780Ti
Storage intel S3700 400GB, samsung 850 pro 120 GB, a cheep intel MLC 120GB, an another even cheeper 120GB
Display(s) eizo foris fg2421
Case 700D
Audio Device(s) ESI Juli@
Power Supply seasonic platinum 1000
Mouse mx518
Software Lightning v2.0a
you can do nitrogen on the surface too, just give technicians hazmat with air, renew energy also no problem :)
 

bug

Joined
May 22, 2015
Messages
8,302 (4.18/day)
Processor Intel i5-6600k (AMD Ryzen5 3600 in a box, waiting for a mobo)
Motherboard ASRock Z170 Extreme7+
Cooling Arctic Cooling Freezer i11
Memory 2x16GB DDR4 3600 G.Skill Ripjaws V (@3200)
Video Card(s) EVGA GTX 1060 SC
Storage 500GB Samsung 970 EVO, 500GB Samsung 850 EVO, 1TB Crucial MX300 and 3TB Seagate
Display(s) HP ZR24w
Case Raijintek Thetis
Audio Device(s) Audioquest Dragonfly Red :D
Power Supply Seasonic 620W M12
Mouse Logitech G502 Proteus Core
Keyboard G.Skill KM780R
Software Arch Linux + Win10
Yeah, it's all peachy. Installing that is comparable to installing a traditional data center and servicing it isn't much more difficult either. /s
 
Joined
Jun 22, 2014
Messages
289 (0.12/day)
Processor Intel Core i7 5820K
Motherboard Asus X99-A
Cooling Cryorig R1
Memory 16GB Corsair DDR4-2800
Video Card(s) RTX 2080ti FE
Storage 512GB Samsung 951 NVME, 1TB Intel 600P, plus a few older Samsung SATA SSD's
Display(s) LG 34GK950F
Case Corsair Air 540
Audio Device(s) Jolita 502A, Jolita GlassFX DSD tube DAC, SVS Ultra Bookshelf, dual SVS SB-2000PRO's
Power Supply Corsair AX850
I'm also concerned with constantly dumping 10s of thousands of watts into the ocean that is already warming.....but that is another story.
Have they made any studies as to how the heat output of this datacenters will affect the quality of the water and the habitat of the surrounding species?
Maybe 1 server will not be enough, but multiple could be a challenge for environment certifications.
Looks like the vessel is monitoring and studying the effects of itself on the surrounding environment.


If they could get free power by the waves/wind that would be impressive (though I am not sure how that would work with all the power a typical DC requires).
Phase 2 (what they finished) was done with 100% renewable energy. There were some interesting articles and FAQ's here:

 
Last edited:
Joined
May 19, 2009
Messages
175 (0.04/day)
I'm also concerned with constantly dumping 10s of thousands of watts into the ocean that is already warming.....but that is another story.
In the winter in my 25-30 degree Celsius house my computer consumes around 700w, when I put my PC outside in the 0c temp it consumes around 550w. The power reduction from keeping every cool (for free) would massive reduce the amount of heat we are dumping into the world so it will only improve things with regards to this.
 
Joined
Dec 31, 2009
Messages
18,743 (4.74/day)
Benchmark Scores Faster than yours... I'd bet on it. :)
In the winter in my 25-30 degree Celsius house my computer consumes around 700w, when I put my PC outside in the 0c temp it consumes around 550w. The power reduction from keeping every cool (for free) would massive reduce the amount of heat we are dumping into the world so it will only improve things with regards to this.
I can't imagine inefficiences to be that much... 150W more? No. Something else is different bud.
 
Joined
May 19, 2009
Messages
175 (0.04/day)
Have they made any studies as to how the heat output of this datacenters will affect the quality of the water and the habitat of the surrounding species?
Maybe 1 server will not be enough, but multiple could be a challenge for environment certifications.
I guess one way could be creating artificial lakes for this type of projects.
Water is exceptionally good at dissipating heat, plus it has such a high specific heat capacity that I am not sure even large data centres would make much of a difference to the water temp once you move a few meters away from it. It wouldn't be close to the kind of heat out put we see from things like thermal vent and they hardly heat the water at all but are a good source of energy for marine life.

The most important thing to remember here is that something like 50% of the energy used in data centres is to cool the data centres. If this means we cut our power used in half then that's a massive win for global sea temps.

I can't imagine inefficiences to be that much... 150W more? No. Something else is different bud.
It was a few years ago but almost certain they were the numbers.
 
Joined
May 19, 2009
Messages
175 (0.04/day)
It isn't nearly that big of a difference. Those values are off.
Bear in mind the CPU and GPUs temps went from 80-90c to 20-30c.
But as I say, it was a few years ago so maybe I am remembering it wrong.
 
Top