Increasingly, data centers and their communications systems are heading out to sea. Microsoft literally launched the world’s first test, oceanic data center, Project Natick, in response to the question, “If 50% of us live near the coast, why doesn’t our data?” In addition, over the last five years, the submarine fiber industry has added an average of 33% capacity annually on major submarine cable routes, according to the latest report by the Submarine Telecoms Forum, and by the end of 2017, global capacity is estimated to increase up to 50%.
Given the digital industry is ocean-bound, Equinix is proud to announce its first deep sea data center, CD1, located at the Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench. CD1 is housed in a decommissioned nuclear submarine, the USOS Seaview, and will be voyaging to the bottom of the sea, at the deepest known point in the Earth’s oceans.
At 35,755 to 35,814 feet (10,898 to 10,916 meters) below sea level, with 16,000 PSI (1000x greater than atmospheric pressure), the extreme environmental conditions at CD1 makes it impossible to have humans onsite. Its staff will consist of a highly skilled aquatic management team including:
- Sponge Bob Square Pants, SVP Data Center Operations
- Ariel, SVP Sea to Land Interconnection
- King Neptune, SVP Security
CD1 has private access to the Asia Pacific Gateway, a submarine communications cable system that will connect mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam and Singapore. It is expected to be 6,500 miles (10,400 km) long with a capacity of 54.8 Terabits per second. CD1 will leverage direct access to this cable system for fast and secure, low-latency communications with the mainland.
“Having a data center so far below sea level is not without its challenges,” said Equinix’s deep sea data center commander Lee Crane. “Sharks are constantly trying to bite through the subsea cables, which is extremely disruptive.”
Resiliency is key at CD1 and like all other Equinix data centers, it will support a proven, industry leading >99.9999% uptime record. As a precaution against curious sea life, the CD1 is surrounded by a high-voltage energy field nicknamed “Nimo,” which is powerful enough to ward off the occasional Kraken.
The high-speed network capacity of the CD1 data center’s communications makes it a perfect digital hub for the media and entertainment industry. Large volumes of media datasets can be stored at CD1 and accessed by multiple cloud-based, production and distribution providers in the Equinix Media Cloud Ecosystem for Entertainment.
Said Commander Crane, “We will be hosting the media production and distribution systems for a feature-length, animation motion picture, “Fan Mail from Some Flounder.” It’s a story of a moose and squirrel, lost at sea in a small boat, receiving directional guidance tweets from a helpful, but forgetful fish named Dory. After rowing in circles for hours, they are rescued by a dolphin with a native GPS named Flipper…It’s hilarious!”
Of course, this being April Fool’s Day, CD1 is just a figment of our imagination. However, our commitment to enabling fast, secure and resilient interconnection to people, locations, clouds and data out at the digital edge of the enterprise is very real. And as far as subsea data centers go, someday we just may climb aboard that emerging technology.
Happy April Fool’s Day from all of us at Equinix!