New Centers Take to the High Seas Start-Up Aims for Lowest Power Usage Effectiveness
The stakes have been raised in the unofficial contest for the world’s most innovative and efficient data center location.
Forget about the underground locations in ex-military bases and bunkers, as well as repurposed churches and inside mountains. A West Coast startup is breaking new ground–or should we say water?—with a plan to launch floating data centers.
The idea of a data center on the high seas has been around for a while. Google actually received a patent in 2009 for a waterborne center that uses the tide to generate energy. But so far, the search giant has yet to officially christen a floating DC. IDS also tried a floating data center 7 or 8 years ago, but that idea seems to be dead in the water.
Lowest Power Usage Effectiveness
The new company, Nautilus Data Technologies, expects to finish its first floating center soon, at Mare Island, California. It is repurposing a 250-foot barge, and outfitting it with patented cooling technology.
That technology rests—literally—on water and the idea that it is “five times more efficient to cool using water versus moving air,” according to the company literature.
Harnessing ocean waters, the company will rely on a cooling loop to absorb the heat from the IT hardware. Nautilus anticipates this solution will provide “the lowest industry PUE,” reducing operational costs by providing lower power usage effectiveness—a ratio calculated by dividing the total power a DC uses by the power used to run its IT equipment.
Safer, Greener, Faster
There are other advantages to a being on the high seas, according company CEO Arnold Magcale. It reduces exposure to environmental threats, such as fires and earthquakes.
Working with repurposed military and commercial barges also reduces build-out time, notes Magcale, who is also a U.S. Navy Special Force veteran.
Nautilus estimates it can configure and deploy up to 800 server racks in less than six months, anywhere in the world.
Will It Float with the Industry?
So, who is this rehab/pre-fab model of data center construction aimed at? Anyone in need of hosting, added capacity, and colocation solutions.
Of course, in an industry where reliability and security are paramount, Nautilus’ novel solution will have to navigate market concerns about stability. No doubt many-a-CTO is going to wonder about potential maritime mishaps—be they real or imagined–such as leaks, tropical storms, and hurricanes.
But if the company’s low-cost cooling and build-out strategies translate into dramatic savings for customers, there could be smooth sailing.
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