March 1, 2024

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China has begun building a massive data center in a very unusual location: the ocean floor

China has begun building a massive data center in a very unusual location: the ocean floor

  • The project is being developed by Beijing Highlander Digital Technology

  • The company confirms that when it is ready, it will enter into commercial operations

We know that one of the challenges that data centers face is maintaining… The temperature is under control. This need has prompted various proposals that seek to address it without causing energy consumption, an essential feature in these times when the world is trying to be more efficient in combating climate change.

In recent years we have seen companies like The goal is to move part of your infrastructure From computing to cold places like Luleå, in Sweden, and Microsoft to testing in a more ambitious environment: the seabed of the Orkney Islands, in Scotland. Now it is China’s turn. The Asian giant is betting on underwater data centers.

China is venturing into establishing underwater data centers

According to CGTN, Beijing Highlander Digital Technology is close to completing the construction of the first phase of the “world’s first commercial underwater data center.” It is a structure that, in total, will consist of 100 cabins With several computing units each that will take advantage of the benefits of the oceanic climate.

Specifically, the data center is being built near Hainan Island in the South China Sea. Project leader Bo Ding says the equipment will “cool naturally” and be 40 to 60% more energy efficient than if it were operated in conventional rooftop facilities.

Placing data centers in water translates into numerous benefits, according to Bo Ding. The density of servers can be higher, which increases computing power and through saved operation From dust and oxygen, they will have greater durability. The expert did not mention this, but we believe that performing any kind of repair will not be that easy in depth.

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It took engineers nearly 3 hours to properly place the project’s first cabin, which weighs 1,300 tons, 35 meters underwater. Let’s remember that each unit is completely sealed to prevent any kind of leakage that might affect the components which, it should be noted, are not exempt from failure.

Microsoft, which has no connection to the Chinese project, verified in its tests that the underwater data centers are viable, although it also left a series of lessons learned for… Scope implementation in the future. Accessing the underwater units is not easy, requiring “unusually calm seas and a specially designed robotic dance.”

After the tests, the Redmond company considered delving into Microsoft Azure data centers, although that did not come to fruition. For its part, the Chinese company confirms that its underwater data center is intended for commercial work and that it is not a test, but it will serve customers while using it.

Photos: CMG

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