Underwater Servers in Your Future?


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    Satya Nadella: The cloud is going to move underwater

    Low latencies and easy deployment make underwater servers convenient and effective.

    natick_7_web-640x480.jpg

    Lowering Leona Philpot, Microsoft's first underwater serverpod, into the water.

    Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella says that underwater server farms are part of the company's plans for future data centers.

    Microsoft has been experimenting with underwater servers for some time. Project Natick put a server pod underwater off the coast of California in 2016. Naturally enough, the pod uses water cooling, dumping waste heat into the ocean around it. It's designed as a sealed unit, deployed for five years before being brought back up to the surface and replaced. Since then, Microsoft has deployed a larger pod off the coast of Scotland..... more on Ars Technica


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    I'm totally on board with this. Image how many datacenters could be located along the shores of the Great Lakes, for example. I'm so glad to see this happening in real life. Brilliant stuff.



  • is the main point the cost savings from the lack of AC? Plus maybe a security aspect?


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    @Donahue said in Underwater Servers in Your Future?:

    is the main point the cost savings from the lack of AC? Plus maybe a security aspect?

    Lots of things, but yes, super low cost cooling for super high density deployments is the biggest key value here. But security, too. They are insanely hard to break into physically.


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    However, space is a big reason, too. Big cities lack space for datacenters.

    He cites proximity to humans as a particular advantage: about 50 percent of the world's population lives within 120 miles of a coast. Putting servers in the ocean means that they can be near population centers, which in turn ensures lower latencies.


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    Microsoft also pointed out that speed of deployment is improved this way.

    The other big advantage Nadella cited is the speed at which servers can be deployed this way. Without the need to build an actual data center, he said that from start to finish the Scottish pod took just 90 days to build and deploy.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Underwater Servers in Your Future?:

    e coast of California in 2016. Naturally enough, the pod uses water cooling, dumping waste heat into the ocean around it. It's

    my only concern is heating the waters near the coasts - how will this effect marine life?


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    @Dashrender said in Underwater Servers in Your Future?:

    @scottalanmiller said in Underwater Servers in Your Future?:

    e coast of California in 2016. Naturally enough, the pod uses water cooling, dumping waste heat into the ocean around it. It's

    my only concern is heating the waters near the coasts - how will this effect marine life?

    That's a very real concern. However at ocean scale, we heat the waters regardless.

    Back in NY, freshwater cooling for Cornell causes the lake (Cayuga Lake) to rise in temperature. But the amount of water compared to the amount of cooling it is used for is completely different. The ocean can absorb a lot of heat compared to a lake.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Underwater Servers in Your Future?:

    @Dashrender said in Underwater Servers in Your Future?:

    @scottalanmiller said in Underwater Servers in Your Future?:

    e coast of California in 2016. Naturally enough, the pod uses water cooling, dumping waste heat into the ocean around it. It's

    my only concern is heating the waters near the coasts - how will this effect marine life?

    That's a very real concern. However at ocean scale, we heat the waters regardless.

    Back in NY, freshwater cooling for Cornell causes the lake (Cayuga Lake) to rise in temperature. But the amount of water compared to the amount of cooling it is used for is completely different. The ocean can absorb a lot of heat compared to a lake.

    that's how it always starts...

    I'm guessing heat bleeds off much faster from the air than it does from the oceans? (unrelated comment).



  • @Dashrender Direct water cooling looks like more effective, taking into account that you have to burn (generate heat) something to produce an electricity to cool the hardware with the traditional air conditioning. But I do agree that it still could affect the nature.



  • @SanWIN said in Underwater Servers in Your Future?:

    @Dashrender Direct water cooling looks like more effective, taking into account that you have to burn (generate heat) something to produce an electricity to cool the hardware with the traditional air conditioning. But I do agree that it still could affect the nature.

    Great point, we have to produce less heat throughout the whole process. To bad we can't just stick servers in the poles - the whole close to population centers/latency issue.



  • @SanWIN said in Underwater Servers in Your Future?:

    @Dashrender Direct water cooling looks like more effective, taking into account that you have to burn (generate heat) something to produce an electricity to cool the hardware with the traditional air conditioning. But I do agree that it still could affect the nature.

    Especially if you can couple this with offshore wind, solar, wave, or current generation systems.



  • @coliver said in Underwater Servers in Your Future?:

    @SanWIN said in Underwater Servers in Your Future?:

    @Dashrender Direct water cooling looks like more effective, taking into account that you have to burn (generate heat) something to produce an electricity to cool the hardware with the traditional air conditioning. But I do agree that it still could affect the nature.

    Especially if you can couple this with offshore wind, solar, wave, or current generation systems.

    This might be crazy thinking - But I wonder how much we are affecting our physical world by tapping energy directly out of it - i.e. taking heat energy from the planet, pulling energy from wind, from wave, etc. In writing that - I'm wondering if there might just be less thermal bleedoff? I know the planet gets a ton of energy from the sun, I'm pretty sure it's what powers most of our weather, so maybe it's a non issue?



  • @Dashrender said in Underwater Servers in Your Future?:

    @coliver said in Underwater Servers in Your Future?:

    @SanWIN said in Underwater Servers in Your Future?:

    @Dashrender Direct water cooling looks like more effective, taking into account that you have to burn (generate heat) something to produce an electricity to cool the hardware with the traditional air conditioning. But I do agree that it still could affect the nature.

    Especially if you can couple this with offshore wind, solar, wave, or current generation systems.

    This might be crazy thinking - But I wonder how much we are affecting our physical world by tapping energy directly out of it - i.e. taking heat energy from the planet, pulling energy from wind, from wave, etc. In writing that - I'm wondering if there might just be less thermal bleedoff? I know the planet gets a ton of energy from the sun, I'm pretty sure it's what powers most of our weather, so maybe it's a non issue?

    It's mostly a non-issue. We're affecting it more with CO2 and other gases then we are through wind, solar, and geothermal.



  • @Dashrender said in Underwater Servers in Your Future?:

    This might be crazy thinking - But I wonder how much we are affecting our physical world by tapping energy directly out of it - i.e. taking heat energy from the planet, pulling energy from wind, from wave, etc. In writing that - I'm wondering if there might just be less thermal bleedoff? I know the planet gets a ton of energy from the sun, I'm pretty sure certain it's what powers most of our weather everything, so maybe it's a non issue?

    I've fixed that for you. . . as without the Sun none of us exists.

    I also kind of worried about the radiation heat that these systems would be pumping directly into the ocean. And while I'm sure it's a non-trivial amount I'm also certain that there are much bigger concerns.

    It would be nice if Microsoft took those floating platoons of solar arrays and installed those on top of these ocean based servers as a means to offset the heat radiation. .

    Edit: Even if the solar arrays weren't directly powering the servers. Just an an ecology offset project. Like the ones where if you want to build a mall, you also have to build a pond etc.



  • @coliver said in Underwater Servers in Your Future?:

    @Dashrender said in Underwater Servers in Your Future?:

    @coliver said in Underwater Servers in Your Future?:

    @SanWIN said in Underwater Servers in Your Future?:

    @Dashrender Direct water cooling looks like more effective, taking into account that you have to burn (generate heat) something to produce an electricity to cool the hardware with the traditional air conditioning. But I do agree that it still could affect the nature.

    Especially if you can couple this with offshore wind, solar, wave, or current generation systems.

    This might be crazy thinking - But I wonder how much we are affecting our physical world by tapping energy directly out of it - i.e. taking heat energy from the planet, pulling energy from wind, from wave, etc. In writing that - I'm wondering if there might just be less thermal bleedoff? I know the planet gets a ton of energy from the sun, I'm pretty sure it's what powers most of our weather, so maybe it's a non issue?

    It's mostly a non-issue. We're affecting it more with CO2 and other gases then we are through wind, solar, and geothermal.

    CO2 is not the boogieman it's made out to be. There are lots of other reasons to prefer moving things to have less impact on the environment. I think it's that most people aren't capable of understanding those other reasons that a boogieman like CO2 is used, most people think they understand less=good more=bad.



  • @DustinB3403 said in Underwater Servers in Your Future?:

    I also kind of worried about the radiation heat that these systems would be pumping directly into the ocean. And while I'm sure it's a non-trivial amount I'm also certain that there are much bigger concerns.

    It's a trivial amount. For these purposes the ocean would be a never ending heat sink. The local area would heat up a bit, only slightly, although even a degree or two in the local area would be bad for fauna living in proximity.


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    @Dashrender said in Underwater Servers in Your Future?:

    @scottalanmiller said in Underwater Servers in Your Future?:

    @Dashrender said in Underwater Servers in Your Future?:

    @scottalanmiller said in Underwater Servers in Your Future?:

    e coast of California in 2016. Naturally enough, the pod uses water cooling, dumping waste heat into the ocean around it. It's

    my only concern is heating the waters near the coasts - how will this effect marine life?

    That's a very real concern. However at ocean scale, we heat the waters regardless.

    Back in NY, freshwater cooling for Cornell causes the lake (Cayuga Lake) to rise in temperature. But the amount of water compared to the amount of cooling it is used for is completely different. The ocean can absorb a lot of heat compared to a lake.

    that's how it always starts...

    I'm guessing heat bleeds off much faster from the air than it does from the oceans? (unrelated comment).

    It's that the heat is focused into a small body of water proportionate to the size of the heat sink.


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    @Dashrender said in Underwater Servers in Your Future?:

    @SanWIN said in Underwater Servers in Your Future?:

    @Dashrender Direct water cooling looks like more effective, taking into account that you have to burn (generate heat) something to produce an electricity to cool the hardware with the traditional air conditioning. But I do agree that it still could affect the nature.

    Great point, we have to produce less heat throughout the whole process. To bad we can't just stick servers in the poles - the whole close to population centers/latency issue.

    Direct water cooling generally does use less energy, it's one of the reasons that it is attractive.


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    @Dashrender said in Underwater Servers in Your Future?:

    @coliver said in Underwater Servers in Your Future?:

    @SanWIN said in Underwater Servers in Your Future?:

    @Dashrender Direct water cooling looks like more effective, taking into account that you have to burn (generate heat) something to produce an electricity to cool the hardware with the traditional air conditioning. But I do agree that it still could affect the nature.

    Especially if you can couple this with offshore wind, solar, wave, or current generation systems.

    This might be crazy thinking - But I wonder how much we are affecting our physical world by tapping energy directly out of it - i.e. taking heat energy from the planet, pulling energy from wind, from wave, etc. In writing that - I'm wondering if there might just be less thermal bleedoff? I know the planet gets a ton of energy from the sun, I'm pretty sure it's what powers most of our weather, so maybe it's a non issue?

    Well, as we attempt to combat global warming, sucking energy out of the system is actually in our favour.



  • @coliver said in Underwater Servers in Your Future?:

    @DustinB3403 said in Underwater Servers in Your Future?:

    I also kind of worried about the radiation heat that these systems would be pumping directly into the ocean. And while I'm sure it's a non-trivial amount I'm also certain that there are much bigger concerns.

    It's a trivial amount. For these purposes the ocean would be a never ending heat sink. The local area would heat up a bit, only slightly, although even a degree or two in the local area would be bad for fauna living in proximity.

    A degree or two for any given area of the ocean can and does have drastic effects on the ecology.


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    @coliver said in Underwater Servers in Your Future?:

    @Dashrender said in Underwater Servers in Your Future?:

    @coliver said in Underwater Servers in Your Future?:

    @SanWIN said in Underwater Servers in Your Future?:

    @Dashrender Direct water cooling looks like more effective, taking into account that you have to burn (generate heat) something to produce an electricity to cool the hardware with the traditional air conditioning. But I do agree that it still could affect the nature.

    Especially if you can couple this with offshore wind, solar, wave, or current generation systems.

    This might be crazy thinking - But I wonder how much we are affecting our physical world by tapping energy directly out of it - i.e. taking heat energy from the planet, pulling energy from wind, from wave, etc. In writing that - I'm wondering if there might just be less thermal bleedoff? I know the planet gets a ton of energy from the sun, I'm pretty sure it's what powers most of our weather, so maybe it's a non issue?

    It's mostly a non-issue. We're affecting it more with CO2 and other gases then we are through wind, solar, and geothermal.

    And in opposite directions. Solar or wind energy production reduces energy "in the system", while CO2 emissions increase it.



  • @coliver said in Underwater Servers in Your Future?:

    @DustinB3403 said in Underwater Servers in Your Future?:

    I also kind of worried about the radiation heat that these systems would be pumping directly into the ocean. And while I'm sure it's a non-trivial amount I'm also certain that there are much bigger concerns.

    It's a trivial amount. For these purposes the ocean would be a never ending heat sink. The local area would heat up a bit, only slightly, although even a degree or two in the local area would be bad for fauna living in proximity.

    Tell that to the manatees congregating at the hot water outputs of power plants, or the caribou using the Alaskan Pipeline to stay warm. The crazies never saw either of those happening.


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    @DustinB3403 said in Underwater Servers in Your Future?:

    @coliver said in Underwater Servers in Your Future?:

    @DustinB3403 said in Underwater Servers in Your Future?:

    I also kind of worried about the radiation heat that these systems would be pumping directly into the ocean. And while I'm sure it's a non-trivial amount I'm also certain that there are much bigger concerns.

    It's a trivial amount. For these purposes the ocean would be a never ending heat sink. The local area would heat up a bit, only slightly, although even a degree or two in the local area would be bad for fauna living in proximity.

    A degree or two for any given area of the ocean can and does have drastic effects on the ecology.

    Yeah, those are the kinds of numbers that cause horrific algae blooms and stuff. That's all that Cayuga is affected, and it's drastic.



  • @travisdh1 said in Underwater Servers in Your Future?:

    @coliver said in Underwater Servers in Your Future?:

    @Dashrender said in Underwater Servers in Your Future?:

    @coliver said in Underwater Servers in Your Future?:

    @SanWIN said in Underwater Servers in Your Future?:

    @Dashrender Direct water cooling looks like more effective, taking into account that you have to burn (generate heat) something to produce an electricity to cool the hardware with the traditional air conditioning. But I do agree that it still could affect the nature.

    Especially if you can couple this with offshore wind, solar, wave, or current generation systems.

    This might be crazy thinking - But I wonder how much we are affecting our physical world by tapping energy directly out of it - i.e. taking heat energy from the planet, pulling energy from wind, from wave, etc. In writing that - I'm wondering if there might just be less thermal bleedoff? I know the planet gets a ton of energy from the sun, I'm pretty sure it's what powers most of our weather, so maybe it's a non issue?

    It's mostly a non-issue. We're affecting it more with CO2 and other gases then we are through wind, solar, and geothermal.

    CO2 is not the boogieman it's made out to be. There are lots of other reasons to prefer moving things to have less impact on the environment. I think it's that most people aren't capable of understanding those other reasons that a boogieman like CO2 is used, most people think they understand less=good more=bad.

    There are whole bodies of research on why excessive amounts of CO2 and other greenhouse gases are bad for the environment and people living in those environments. It's not a new thing and knowledge of it has been around for decades...



  • @scottalanmiller said in Underwater Servers in Your Future?:

    @coliver said in Underwater Servers in Your Future?:

    @Dashrender said in Underwater Servers in Your Future?:

    @coliver said in Underwater Servers in Your Future?:

    @SanWIN said in Underwater Servers in Your Future?:

    @Dashrender Direct water cooling looks like more effective, taking into account that you have to burn (generate heat) something to produce an electricity to cool the hardware with the traditional air conditioning. But I do agree that it still could affect the nature.

    Especially if you can couple this with offshore wind, solar, wave, or current generation systems.

    This might be crazy thinking - But I wonder how much we are affecting our physical world by tapping energy directly out of it - i.e. taking heat energy from the planet, pulling energy from wind, from wave, etc. In writing that - I'm wondering if there might just be less thermal bleedoff? I know the planet gets a ton of energy from the sun, I'm pretty sure it's what powers most of our weather, so maybe it's a non issue?

    It's mostly a non-issue. We're affecting it more with CO2 and other gases then we are through wind, solar, and geothermal.

    And in opposite directions. Solar or wind energy production reduces energy "in the system", while CO2 emissions increase it.

    I could see how wind is reducing energy in the system. As it's literally forcing wind (produced from hot and cold areas) to turn turbines.

    But how is solar pulling energy out of the system?



  • @travisdh1 said in Underwater Servers in Your Future?:

    @coliver said in Underwater Servers in Your Future?:

    @DustinB3403 said in Underwater Servers in Your Future?:

    I also kind of worried about the radiation heat that these systems would be pumping directly into the ocean. And while I'm sure it's a non-trivial amount I'm also certain that there are much bigger concerns.

    It's a trivial amount. For these purposes the ocean would be a never ending heat sink. The local area would heat up a bit, only slightly, although even a degree or two in the local area would be bad for fauna living in proximity.

    Tell that to the manatees congregating at the hot water outputs of power plants, or the caribou using the Alaskan Pipeline to stay warm. The crazies never saw either of those happening.

    That doesn't make it right though. Those creatures would migrate to warmer waters - so how are those creatures affecting that area by staying there outside the norm?



  • @DustinB3403 said in Underwater Servers in Your Future?:

    @scottalanmiller said in Underwater Servers in Your Future?:

    @coliver said in Underwater Servers in Your Future?:

    @Dashrender said in Underwater Servers in Your Future?:

    @coliver said in Underwater Servers in Your Future?:

    @SanWIN said in Underwater Servers in Your Future?:

    @Dashrender Direct water cooling looks like more effective, taking into account that you have to burn (generate heat) something to produce an electricity to cool the hardware with the traditional air conditioning. But I do agree that it still could affect the nature.

    Especially if you can couple this with offshore wind, solar, wave, or current generation systems.

    This might be crazy thinking - But I wonder how much we are affecting our physical world by tapping energy directly out of it - i.e. taking heat energy from the planet, pulling energy from wind, from wave, etc. In writing that - I'm wondering if there might just be less thermal bleedoff? I know the planet gets a ton of energy from the sun, I'm pretty sure it's what powers most of our weather, so maybe it's a non issue?

    It's mostly a non-issue. We're affecting it more with CO2 and other gases then we are through wind, solar, and geothermal.

    And in opposite directions. Solar or wind energy production reduces energy "in the system", while CO2 emissions increase it.

    I could see how wind is reducing energy in the system. As it's literally forcing wind (produced from hot and cold areas) to turn turbines.

    But how is solar pulling energy out of the system?

    Less of it hitting the surface of the earth and heating up the landmass. Solar panels have an effect of cooling nearby areas.


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    @coliver said in Underwater Servers in Your Future?:

    @travisdh1 said in Underwater Servers in Your Future?:

    @coliver said in Underwater Servers in Your Future?:

    @Dashrender said in Underwater Servers in Your Future?:

    @coliver said in Underwater Servers in Your Future?:

    @SanWIN said in Underwater Servers in Your Future?:

    @Dashrender Direct water cooling looks like more effective, taking into account that you have to burn (generate heat) something to produce an electricity to cool the hardware with the traditional air conditioning. But I do agree that it still could affect the nature.

    Especially if you can couple this with offshore wind, solar, wave, or current generation systems.

    This might be crazy thinking - But I wonder how much we are affecting our physical world by tapping energy directly out of it - i.e. taking heat energy from the planet, pulling energy from wind, from wave, etc. In writing that - I'm wondering if there might just be less thermal bleedoff? I know the planet gets a ton of energy from the sun, I'm pretty sure it's what powers most of our weather, so maybe it's a non issue?

    It's mostly a non-issue. We're affecting it more with CO2 and other gases then we are through wind, solar, and geothermal.

    CO2 is not the boogieman it's made out to be. There are lots of other reasons to prefer moving things to have less impact on the environment. I think it's that most people aren't capable of understanding those other reasons that a boogieman like CO2 is used, most people think they understand less=good more=bad.

    There are whole bodies of research on why excessive amounts of CO2 and other greenhouse gases are bad for the environment and people living in those environments. It's not a new thing and knowledge of it has been around for decades...

    Venus



  • @DustinB3403 said in Underwater Servers in Your Future?:

    @scottalanmiller said in Underwater Servers in Your Future?:

    @coliver said in Underwater Servers in Your Future?:

    @Dashrender said in Underwater Servers in Your Future?:

    @coliver said in Underwater Servers in Your Future?:

    @SanWIN said in Underwater Servers in Your Future?:

    @Dashrender Direct water cooling looks like more effective, taking into account that you have to burn (generate heat) something to produce an electricity to cool the hardware with the traditional air conditioning. But I do agree that it still could affect the nature.

    Especially if you can couple this with offshore wind, solar, wave, or current generation systems.

    This might be crazy thinking - But I wonder how much we are affecting our physical world by tapping energy directly out of it - i.e. taking heat energy from the planet, pulling energy from wind, from wave, etc. In writing that - I'm wondering if there might just be less thermal bleedoff? I know the planet gets a ton of energy from the sun, I'm pretty sure it's what powers most of our weather, so maybe it's a non issue?

    It's mostly a non-issue. We're affecting it more with CO2 and other gases then we are through wind, solar, and geothermal.

    And in opposite directions. Solar or wind energy production reduces energy "in the system", while CO2 emissions increase it.

    I could see how wind is reducing energy in the system. As it's literally forcing wind (produced from hot and cold areas) to turn turbines.

    But how is solar pulling energy out of the system?

    because the ground isn't adsorbing it.