Microsoft Wants To Take Our Data Where It’s Never Been Before

As Internet access spreads across the planet, technology companies are engaging in a land grab to build data centers to house all the information we create and share. But land is limited, so where do we go from here? Microsoft’s Project Natick is trying to solve this problem.

centers around the world, real estate costs climb accordingly.

What’s more, companies are facing increasing energy costs to maintain these centers, and this is causing a number of concerns among the world’s largest technology companies. Data centers are not particularly sustainable or efficient. According to the National Resources Defense Council:

“Data centers are one of the largest and fastest growing consumers of electricity in the United States. In 2013, U.S. data centers consumed an estimated 91 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity – enough electricity to power all the households in New York City twice over – and are on-track to reach 140 billion kilowatt-hours by 2020.”

This electricity is primarily used to cool servers so they can perform optimally and avoid overheating—and crashing. To keep a server in pristine condition, data companies must keep their centers between 64 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. If you consider how much it costs to keep your home that cool in the summer—without massive machines that produce extreme amounts of heat—you can imagine how costly this is for data centers.

Technology companies such as Facebook are buying land and building data centers in cooler climates with cheaper available power sources. But, as Will Rogers once said, “Buy land, they ain’t making any more of the stuff.”

data
Facebook’s Sweden Data Center. Credit: Source.

What happens when we run out of land?

To explore the feasibility of submerging our data under the waves, Microsoft’s team of scientists and researchers created the Leona Philpot “self-contained data center.” Named after a character in Microsoft’s Xbox video game Halo, the Leona Philpot is meant to

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