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Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella thinks that data centres will soon be underwater. Nadella suspects that they will play a major role in the expansion of his company’s global cloud platform. A foretaste of what’s to come is Project Natick.

Natick is a project in which Microsoft has installed a data centre 12 metres long on the seabed off the coast of Scotland. The thought is to repeat that all over the world. Since fifty percent of the world’s population lives close to water, we think this is the way to think about future regions for our data centres and the way in which we are expanding, according to Nadella at the Microsoft Future Decoded conference in London.

Very local services

Real-time cloud services are becoming increasingly important. Delays are therefore not a good thing, and in order to reduce them as much as possible, consideration could be given to building data centres off the coast of cities. They do not have to be immense data centres, because these are very local services.

But, according to Nadella, it’s not just about reducing the delay. Project Natick turned out to be extremely simple and quick to roll out. Building it, the entire project, was very simple. From start to finish we spent ninety days, says Nadella.


Project Natick was a proof-of-concept from Microsoft, in which the company wanted to find out whether pre-developed data centres for underwater areas could be built quickly. The time it took was reduced from two years to 90 days. This is a positive development for Microsoft, because the company is looking for ways to quickly bring more capacity to certain places.

By having these types of prefabricated pods ready, the company does not have to anticipate future demand extensively, but can bring demand to where it is needed immediately. The Natick data centre has twelve racks with 864 servers and a cooling system that transfers heat to the ocean. The system is built to last five years and will be on the seabed for at least a year.

By the way, the Natick pod uses a quarter of a megawatt of energy and uses the Orkney Islands network for that purpose. All electricity is generated there from renewable sources.

This news article was automatically translated from Dutch to give Techzine.eu a head start. All news articles after September 1, 2019 are written in native English and NOT translated. All our background stories are written in native English as well. For more information read our launch article.