The Future of Data Centres, Underwater

Posted By on February 1, 2016

Picture courtesy of Microsoft

In The Future of Data Centres, Underwater we look at Project Natick, a Microsoft research project to manufacture and operate an underwater datacenter.

The initial experimental prototype vessel, christened the ‘Leona Philpot’ after a popular Xbox game character, was operated on the seafloor approximately one kilometer off the Pacific coast of the United States from August to November of 2015. Project Natick reflects Microsoft’s ongoing quest for cloud datacenter solutions that offer rapid provisioning, lower costs, high responsiveness, and are more environmentally sustainable.

We’re learning how to reconfigure firmware and drivers for disk drives, to get longer life out of them. We’re managing power, learning more about using less. These lessons will translate to better ways to operate our datacenters. Even if we never do this on a bigger scale, we’re learning so many lessons. One of the things that’s so fun about a CEO like Satya Nadella is that he’s hard-nosed business savvy, customer obsessed, but another half of this brain is a dreamer who loves moonshots. When I see something like Natick, you could say it’s a moonshot, but not one completely divorced from Microsoft’s core business. I’m really tickled by it. It really perfectly fits the left brain/right brain combination we have right now in the company.

Peter Lee, corporate vice president of Microsoft Research NExT.

Learn more about the project at Microsoft’s blog
and at


Nikolas Badminton is a world-respected futurist speaker that researches, speaks, and writes about the future of work, how technology is affecting the workplace, how workers are adapting, the sharing economy, and how the world is evolving. He appears at conferences in Canada, USA, UK, and Europe. Email him to book him for your radio, TV show, or conference.

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