Consultant Splash Cold Water on Microsoft’s Project Natick

February 22, 2016 By Carl Weinschenk

microsoft-logoOne of the more interesting recent news items was the announcement earlier this month by Microsoft of Project Natick, which is an experiment that focuses on underwater datacenters. Mark Monroe, the President of Energetic Consulting, raised some issues with the feasibility of the concept at Datacenter Knowledge.

Microsoft pointed to the fact that a many people live near coasts, which will reduce latency. Other big benefits are an essentially free and environmentally neutral source of power cooling.

Monroe points to a few challenges, however. He suggests that energy projects involving large bodies of water generally encounter public resistance. Monroe also suggested that the heat generated from the submerged unit could be an environmental issue. Finally, he wrote that modular options on land can be delivered more quickly.

Other challenges – which he doesn’t dive too deeply into – include cost, security, connectivity, powering and how reliably sensitive cooling gear would operate in a corrosive salt water environment.

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