Speaking at the Microsoft’s Future Decoded conference in London, CEO Satya Nadella said that part of the company’s plans for future data centers includes underwater server farms, Ars Technica reports.
Microsoft has been experimenting with underwater servers for some time, and in 2016 Project Natick put a server pod underwater off the coast of California.
The pod was designed as a sealed unit and uses water cooling to dump waste heat into the ocean around it. It was designed to be deployed for five years before being brought back up to the surface to be replaced.
Undersea deployments are “the way [Microsoft] will think about data center regions and expansion”, Nadella said.
Deploying servers in the ocean means they can be near population centers, ensuring lower latencies, which Nadella cited as a particular advantage. He added that for real-time services, including Microsoft’s forthcoming Xcloud game streaming service, low latencies are particularly important.
Another advantage is the speed at which servers can be deployed using this underwater method.
He said that without the need to build an actual data centre, the pods can be deployed very quickly.