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China began construction of the first commercial underwater data center

2 min read

The Government of the Chinese province Hainan reported on the start of work on the creation of an underwater data center (UDC) based on the previously experienced prototype. Servers will be mounted in sealed containers under pressure and placed on the seabed. The first five containers will be prepared this year. They will be scented in the coastal areas of the port Hainan. By 2025, their number will bring to 100 with the possibility of further scaling, if the demand for UDC services will be high enough.

The project is being implemented by Beijing Highlander with the participation of Sinnet Technology, Hainan Telecom, Lenovo and the state. China hopes that the placement of the data centers of the sea will help reduce the cost of cooling, as well as reduce power consumption, that is, increase energy efficiency and PUE indicator. “With the onset of the era of 5G and 6G, the data flow will grow exponentially, and the construction of underwater data center centers will meet the needs of future development,” said Xu Tan, Vice-President Highlander.

Datacenterdynamics.com: Rendering of the Hainan data center plan

The project was approved after obtaining positive results of the analysis of water temperature and storm. According to Xu Tana, the choice of the construction site has influenced the same port policy of its high need for safety and reliability of data processing. And thanks to the local nuclear power plant, the project will be able to obtain the status of a data center with zero carbon emissions.

Despite the optimistic plans Highlander, there are skeptics. The analyst of the State IT-Consulting Company CCID Consulting, Jan Zhiyun believes that despite energy savings in UDC compared with land-based data center, one-time investment will be too large. On the other hand, the Chinese Highlander is not the first who launches such a project.

The pioneer of the concept of underwater data centers was Microsoft with its project Project Natick, successfully operated the 12-minute data center from Scotland’s coast for two years. According to the results of long testing, the concept of the autonomous submarine data center was recognized viable. Moreover, such a data center was even reliable than his copy, who worked on land.

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