Microsoft has come up with a radical new way to store data – under the sea.
Testing of the firm’s first underwater data centre – dubbed Leona Philpot after a character in an Xbox game – has just been completed in an initiative called Project Natick.
Data centres are believed to consume up to 3% of the world’s electricity, according to researchers.
Large technology firms are keen to find energy efficient ways to store their increasing amounts of data.
Microsoft said its reasons for experimenting with underwater data centres were twofold.
Firstly, half the world’s population is located within 125 miles (200km) of the coast so data centres in the sea would reduce latency – the time its takes data to travel from its source to customers.
But there were also environmental reasons for the trial. Putting the data centre in the ocean eliminated the need for cooling and, in future, if such centres could be colocated with offshore renewable energy sources, they could also produce zero emissions, according to Microsoft.