Microsoft reveals the environmental impact of undersea datacenter

September 14, 2020

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Early today, Microsoft revealed some latest information regarding Project Natick. Microsoft said that an undersea datacenter is a more sustainable approach that actually improves the performance and reliability of the datacenter when compared to land. After reading Microsoft’s report, we asked Microsoft about the environmental impact of Project Natick inside the sea. We specifically asked whether Microsoft studied the impact of surrounding underwater environment after Project Natick is deployed. Microsoft replied that Project Natick will have a negligible impact on the underwater world.

Here’s the full response from Microsoft:

Natick uses raw sea water for cooling, with the water returned to the ocean a fraction of a degree warmer than ambient. Due to rapid mixing in ocean currents, the temperature impact just a few meters downstream of the datacenter is undetectable. We used cameras on the exterior of the vessel to observe wildlife during deployment.  We found that the datacenter provided an attractive location for sea life, and was quickly colonized by multiple species of fish and other sea life.

Two years underwater provided time for a thin coat of algae and barnacles to form, and for sea anemones to grow to cantaloupe size in the sheltered nooks of its ballast-filled base

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