Project Natick's Northern Isles datacenter is partially submerged and cradled by winches and cranes between the pontoons of an industrial catamaran-like gantry barge.
This marks the second phase of Project Natick, which kicked off in 2015 when Microsoft unloaded a mini-data center off the central California coast, where it ran for 105 days.
Engineers slide racks of Microsoft servers and associated cooling system infrastructure into Project Natick's Northern Isles datacenter at a Naval Group facility in Brest, France. The undersea cable was developed by the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC), a Microsoft partner in the project. By sinking undersea data centers near these coastal cities, Microsoft enables faster web surfing, video streaming, and game playing, while also bolstering cloud-based AI capabilities.
Project Natick gets electrical power from a cable connected to a wind farm on the Orkney Islands, and that cable also serves as the conduit for the data processed under the sea.
This Davy Jones' data centre is the result of a year's worth of research into environmentally sustainable data storage technology that Redmond hopes could one day be ordered to size, rapidly deployed and left to operate at the bottom of the sea for years.
The undersea data center is part of the technology giant's Project Natick initiative meant to research more energy efficient data centers.
In a bid to save the planet while making some money, Microsoft just drowned one of its data centers at sea.
Data centers usually generate a lot of heat and companies spend a lot in cooling them. Microsoft notes that its subsea technology isn't close to replacing the land-based data centers that connect most of the world to the internet.
"Like any new vehicle, we kick the tires and run the engine in different speeds to make sure everything works well", said Spencer Flowers, who is a senior member of technical staff for Microsoft's special projects.
The submerged data center includes 864 servers and 27.6 petabytes of storage - or almost 28 million gigabytes. The latest version is created to remain in operation without maintenance for up to five years.