The oceans are already used for generating power and cooling nuclear power plants. Since power and cooling are two of the biggest challenges faced by data centers today – and land, especially coastal land, is one of the largest initial costs when building a data center. We’re wondering if it would make sense for data centers to set out to sea?
Think about it – free water for cooling, enormous wind and tidal energy at your disposal, and security that no fence system can match – assuming you’re not sailing your server ship off the east coast of Africa. Wind turbines above decks and wave turbines below could one day power a ship full of server racks and charge battery backups for redundant power systems.
Are there drawbacks? Typically, data center site selection rules out coastal areas due to possible storms, flooding and generally unstable geography. But the mega-container ships ferrying products from one continent to another are highly stable and can weather even the worst of storms with little damage. Tsunamis aren’t much of an issue mid-ocean either, usually passing unnoticed under ships at sea.
If you think this sounds far-fetched, keep in mind that many people believe Google has already built experimental data barges and is well on the way to implementing a floating data center. One day, maybe soon, your data could be not only in the cloud, but on the waves.
Of course, free cooling, tidal energy and security would be even better under water, now wouldn’t it?