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[NYT] Microsoft Tests Underwater Data Center - Page 7

post #61 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by anti-clockwize View Post

Interesting, but surely they have planned for this, being as big as they are, Microsoft would have had to hire people to look into these kind of things.
Maybe there will be some way of ensuring that the warmer water is being circulated into larger volumes of water, ie, the out going piping for the heated water leading well out into the ocean rather than outputting in the same area as the datacenter.

Do you really believe they care that much? If it's out of sight, never happened.
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post #62 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by epic1337 View Post

local heating, not the entire sea.
you can end up with heating up a small portion of the sea near the coastline, affecting it immensely.

this one is actually from a power plant discharge, but you get the idea.


so to be specific, those hot waters have less oxygen levels where most intolerant species will die from.
and algae blooms will occur more often originating from those hot plumes of water, further killing more marine life.

This is what I'm concerned about. They should use a more localized source of water. (A large man made tank, etc.) That doesn't have any lifeforms present in it to be affected.

- Insan1tyOne biggrin.gif
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post #63 of 101
do you know me for a while?
post #64 of 101
first submerged servers..... next it'll be submerged buildings... then cities....

inb4 bioshock?
    
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post #65 of 101
Inb4 Archimedean Dynasty & TigerShark.smile.gif
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post #66 of 101
The start up capital before you place even one server has to be in the millions of dollars. Then there are issues with how do you maintain the servers and swap out parts. Air conditioning is expensive, but on the order of thousands of dollars a month. The costs aren't even in the same league. For so many reasons this just doesn't make any sense.
post #67 of 101
All they need for success is a butt-load of WD-40.
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post #68 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by mothergoose729 View Post

The start up capital before you place even one server has to be in the millions of dollars. Then there are issues with how do you maintain the servers and swap out parts. Air conditioning is expensive, but on the order of thousands of dollars a month. The costs aren't even in the same league. For so many reasons this just doesn't make any sense.

I doubt Microsoft is doing it to save money at this point, but rather to explore the feasibility for the future.

Anyways, to discuss both the environmental concerns and the financial ones:

Environment:
The farm would be powered by tidal energy, so technically the energy in the water remains constant (or could even be reduced if the module can send extra power back to the mainland). What happens is that tidal energy is converted to electrical and then thermal energy. I'm not sure what impact this combination has on your average coastline, but I'm certain it bears no resemblance to that of a power plant.

Napkin math edit: To explore the thermal impact a bit, lets guess blindly that they can cram 1000 servers into each one, and lets say each server consumes 200w of power, that means the module absorbs 200Kw of kinetic (tidal) energy and replaces it with 200Kw of thermal energy. According to Wikipedia power plants consume power on the order of hundreds of megawatts or gigawatts, so this module at its worst is outputting 1/500th the thermal energy of a miniscule gas-turbine power plant. I'm ignoring the relation of thermal energy produced by a plant to the electrical energy it outputs so maybe that screws this whole calculation over, but the point should still be that these modules don't compare to most powerplants on their raw scale of energy manipulation.

Cost:
The key here is modularization and mass production. The plan is not to have special underwater construction crews build each one manually, rather to construct them rapidly and cheaply on land, then sink them off the coast. Since there will be no human occupancy, all they need is a large waterproof box with a generator built into the wall and some watertight network cables. I don't know much about manufacturing, but I bet this doesn't cost much especially when you consider the long term power savings.

Furthermore, I imagine maintenance would be done entirely on land--they haul up the old module, sink a new up-to-date one, and take the old one off to be rebuilt and refurbished every 5 years or so.

Frankly, I think the whole idea is pretty flawless. Perhaps the biggest issue I can imagine is thieves (be they private or foreign nations) just rolling up, cutting the cables and towing it away.
Edited by alcal - 2/3/16 at 12:21pm
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post #69 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by alcal View Post

I doubt Microsoft is doing it to save money at this point, but rather to explore the feasibility for the future.

Anyways, to discuss both the environmental concerns and the financial ones:

Environment:
The farm would be powered by tidal energy, so technically the energy in the water remains constant (or could even be reduced if the module can send extra power back to the mainland). What happens is that tidal energy is converted to electrical and then thermal energy. I'm not sure what impact this combination has on your average coastline, but I'm certain it bears no resemblance to that of a power plant.

Cost:
The key here is modularization and mass production. The plan is not to have special underwater construction crews build each one manually, rather to construct them rapidly and cheaply on land, then sink them off the coast. Since there will be no human occupancy, all they need is a large waterproof box with a generator built into the wall and some watertight network cables. I don't know much about manufacturing, but I bet this doesn't cost much especially when you consider the long term power savings.

Furthermore, I imagine maintenance would be done entirely on land--they haul up the old module, sink a new up-to-date one, and take the old one off to be rebuilt and refurbished every 5 years or so.

Frankly, I think the whole idea is pretty flawless. Perhaps the biggest issue I can imagine is thieves (be they private or foreign nations) just rolling up, cutting the cables and towing it away.

The environmental impact will be minimal unless thousands of these pods were dropped into a relatively small area. There will be lost more fish warming the ocean than there ever will be servers (hopefully).

Mass producing pods its certainly doable, but there are two problems as I see it.

1) You have to lay lots of undersea cable, which is prohibitively expensive (although true, you don't have to build a giant warehouse like you would on land).

2) Maintenance. Parts go out on servers often, especially if you using mechanical hard drives for storage (and if the goal is to cut cost, then they must be). If you have to rent, or even worse, buy the equipment to haul up one of these data tanks, and then crack open the water proof shell with a welding torch to fix or upgrade even one server then you have saved negative dollars. That it really expensive.

To get around these problems they would probably have to rely on enterprise SSD drives (not cheap) and build in a lot of redundancy (also not cheap) - so much so that they could live with a significant portion of there server being non operational or relying on backup systems for an extended period of time.


Also, hurricanes. Earthquakes. Pirates. Risks you take when you leave your stuff "outside".

I just don't see it.
post #70 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by mothergoose729 View Post

The environmental impact will be minimal unless thousands of these pods were dropped into a relatively small area. There will be lost more fish warming the ocean than there ever will be servers (hopefully).

Mass producing pods its certainly doable, but there are two problems as I see it.

1) You have to lay lots of undersea cable, which is prohibitively expensive (although true, you don't have to build a giant warehouse like you would on land).

2) Maintenance. Parts go out on servers often, especially if you using mechanical hard drives for storage (and if the goal is to cut cost, then they must be). If you have to rent, or even worse, buy the equipment to haul up one of these data tanks, and then crack open the water proof shell with a welding torch to fix or upgrade even one server then you have saved negative dollars. That it really expensive.

To get around these problems they would probably have to rely on enterprise SSD drives (not cheap) and build in a lot of redundancy (also not cheap) - so much so that they could live with a significant portion of there server being non operational or relying on backup systems for an extended period of time.


Also, hurricanes. Earthquakes. Pirates. Risks you take when you leave your stuff "outside".

I just don't see it.

They won't be replacing every failed hard drive. Instead, they'll design them with an expected failure rate over a certain time frame. By the end of a service cycle, only 70% of the machines might still be operational. The beauty of distributed computing is that failures don't matter though as long as the bulk of the network remains online. As far as cable goes, I can't say for sure what the costs would be like if it is only a mile or two offshore and not too deep. The scale of this "undersea cable" can't really be compared to a trans-oceanic cable which needs absurd reliability and stretches thousands of miles at much greater depths. I can't imagine them using any wireless solution (like a buoy with a line of sight laser link to shore) due to reliability and performance costs.
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