Magazine article ASEE Prism

Deep Chill

Magazine article ASEE Prism

Deep Chill

Article excerpt

DATA CENTERS

The "cloud" sounds light and airy. But it's actually composed of many data centers- huge warehouse-size buildings crammed with servers-that generate an awful lot of heat. Keeping them cool requires a costly amount of air conditioning. So some companies are stationing data centers in cool climes. Facebook has, for instance, a center in northern Sweden. But Microsoftis trying another approach-sinking them into the chilling waters of Davy Jones's locker. Its Project Natick envisions submerged data centers just offshore. As Microsoftnotes, half the world's population lives within 120 miles of a coast, so moving more data centers closer to consumers would speed data transmissions. Additionally, a data center on land can take up to two years to build, but Microsoftsays mass-produced steel capsules that house many racks of servers could be manufactured within 90 days. …

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