Microsoft Is Taking Cloud Computing to the Ocean Floor

Half of the world's population lives within about 124 miles of the ocean, according to Microsoft's Project Natick. The company has been experimenting with the idea of moving datacenters into the sea, where they will be closer to customers and thus require shorter connecting data cables. The first prototype for an underwater data center was successfully dropped to the ocean floor for 105 days, and now Microsoft is hoping to use observations from the project to improve how we access the cloud.

Project Natick, which started in 2013, is focused on improving several aspects of cloud computing, from getting data to devices faster to making the process more environmentally sustainable. Typically, datacenters are large facilities that house row after row of server racks where data is stored and transferred, but they are expensive to operate and not always in the most central geographic locations.

In the video above, which explains the project and shows the prototype building and deployment processes, Kramer explains that the plan to move datacenters closer to where the customers are "made a great amount of sense."

Last year, after months of planning and building, Project Natick took a 38,000-pound container holding a working datacenter—named Leona Philpot after a character from the Halo video game franchise—and successfully dropped it into the Pacific Ocean half a mile away from land. Inside was a single server rack surrounded by a cooling system and various electronic components that control the datacenter. The container was left in the ocean for three months while Project Natick collected data on the speed of the current, the temperature and humidity, and how much power the servers used. 

Peter Lee, Corporate VP of Microsoft Research, said that what the team is learning from the experiment will be more valuable than the achievement of doing it. "We’re learning how to reconfigure firmware and drivers for disk drives, to get longer life out of them. We’re managing power, learning more about using less. These lessons will translate to better ways to operate our datacenters."

Next up: Microsoft plans to build another prototype that is three times larger than the first, according to The Verge, and to begin new ocean trials by next year.

Banner image via YouTube

[h/t The Verge]

Afternoon Map
The Most Searched Shows on Netflix in 2017, By State

Orange is the New Black is the new black, at least as far as Netflix viewers are concerned. The women-in-prison dramedy may have premiered in 2013, but it’s still got viewers hooked. Just as they did in 2017, took a deep dive into Netflix analytics using Google Trends to find out which shows people in each state were searching Netflix for throughout the year. While there was a little bit of crossover between 2016 and 2017, new series like American Vandal and Mindhunter gave viewers a host of new content. But that didn’t stop Orange is the New Black from dominating the map; it was the most searched show in 15 states.

Coming in at a faraway second place was American Vandal, a new true crime satire that captured the attention of five states (Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Wisconsin). Even more impressive is the fact that the series premiered in mid-September, meaning that it found a large and rabid audience in a very short amount of time.

Folks in Alaska, Colorado, and Oregon were all destined to be disappointed; Star Trek: Discovery was the most searched-for series in each of these states, but it’s not yet available on Netflix in America (you’ve got to get CBS All Access for that, folks). Fourteen states broke the mold a bit with shows that were unique to their state only; this included Big Mouth in Delaware, The Keepers in Maryland, The OA in Pennsylvania, GLOW in Rhode Island, and Black Mirror in Hawaii.

Check out the map above to see if your favorite Netflix binge-watch matches up with your neighbors'. For more detailed findings, visit

Afternoon Map
Monthly Internet Costs in Every Country

Thanks to the internet, people around the world can conduct global research, trade tips, and find faraway friends without ever leaving their couch. Not everyone pays the same price for these digital privileges, though, according to new data visualizations spotted by Thrillist.

To compare internet user prices in each country, cost information site created a series of maps. The data comes courtesy of English market research consultancy BDRC and, which teamed up to analyze 3351 broadband packages in 196 nations between August 18, 2017 and October 12, 2017.

In the U.S., for example, the average cost for internet service is $66 per month. That’s substantially more than what browsers pay in neighboring Mexico ($27) and Canada ($55). Still, we don’t have it bad compared to either Namibia or Burkina Faso, where users shell out a staggering $464 and $924, respectively, for monthly broadband access. In fact, internet in the U.S. is far cheaper than what residents in 113 countries pay, including those in Saudi Arabia ($84), Indonesia ($72), and Greenland ($84).

On average, internet costs in Asia and Russia tend to be among the lowest, while access is prohibitively expensive in sub-Saharan Africa and in certain parts of Oceania. As for the world’s cheapest internet, you’ll find it in Ukraine and Iran.

Check out the maps below for more broadband insights, or view’s full findings here.

Map of Internet costs in each country created by information site

Map of Internet costs in each country created by information site

Map of Internet costs in each country created by information site

Map of Internet costs in each country created by information site

Map of Internet costs in each country created by information site

[h/t Thrillist]


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