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Is Google Building a Floating Data Center In San Francisco Bay?

Soulskill posted about 9 months ago | from the walk-to-shore-and-scream-your-search-queries-at-it dept.

Google 115

snydeq writes "CNET's Daniel Terdiman investigates an oversize secret project Google is constructing on San Francisco's Treasure Island, which according to one expert may be a sea-faring data center. 'Something big and mysterious is rising from a floating barge at the end of Treasure Island, a former Navy base in the middle of San Francisco Bay. And Google's fingerprints are all over it,' Terdiman writes. 'Whether the structure is in fact a floating data center is hard to say for sure, of course, since Google's not talking. But Google, understandably, has a history of putting data centers in places with cheap cooling, as well as undertaking odd and unexpected projects like trying to bring Internet access to developing nations via balloons and blimps.'"

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115 comments

best guess (4, Funny)

Kevin Fishburne (1296859) | about 9 months ago | (#45246567)

A giant cage to trap Cthulhu for their Japanese R&D branch. Google Tentacle; the perfect accessory for Google Glass.

Re:best guess (4, Funny)

auric_dude (610172) | about 9 months ago | (#45246617)

Best to sink that rumour right away.

Re:best guess (1)

slick7 (1703596) | about 9 months ago | (#45246657)

Shit floats?

Re:best guess (4, Funny)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about 9 months ago | (#45246935)

Googlelingus

Admit it. They have you licked.

Re:best guess (4, Funny)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about 9 months ago | (#45247039)

"Don't be evil" is just lip service?

Re:best guess (1)

Cryacin (657549) | about 9 months ago | (#45248689)

"Don't be evil" is just lip service?

Well, obviously, considering they've now constructed a floating citadel of doom...

Re:best guess (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about 9 months ago | (#45250451)

Your rejoinder added nothing to this 'oral' history, alas.

Re:best guess (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45255637)

yeah he totally blew it.

Re: best guess (2)

grcumb (781340) | about 9 months ago | (#45248899)

Googlelingus....

Puts the Zune squirt in a whole new light, doesn't it?

Daniel Turdman (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45249877)

heh heh, heh heh, heh heh!

Wrong (1)

transporter_ii (986545) | about 9 months ago | (#45247297)

Obviously, they are battle hardening, in order to protect our data from the NSA.

Re:Wrong (2)

davester666 (731373) | about 9 months ago | (#45248887)

No, they just want to be able to charge the NSA for the data, rather than just turning it over for only a small charge.

Re:best guess (1)

trillion (246465) | about 9 months ago | (#45248283)

LOL

Re:best guess (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45248529)

In soviet America, Google searches YOU.

Re:best guess (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45248663)

They're just waiting until they can afford their own aircraft carrier.

Re:best guess (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45248683)

A giant cage to trap Cthulhu for their Japanese R&D branch. Google Tentacle; the perfect accessory for Google Glass.

Google tentacle porn will take on a new meaning. Well, not new, but more direct anyway.

Re:best guess (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45250199)

I'm not sure the viewers of that kind of porn where imagining themselves as the school girl. So a new, scary meaning.

"Secret" (4, Informative)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 9 months ago | (#45246645)

Something big and mysterious is rising from a floating barge at the end of Treasure Island, a former Navy base in the middle of San Francisco Bay. And Google's fingerprints are all over it,'

It's hardly a secret guys. They were granted a patent on sea-based data centers... in 2009 [seobythesea.com] . They want to build a sea-water based data center, and given the mild seasons of California and abundance of internet peering points, this is the logical place to start.

The thing is, sea water isn't exactly computer-friendly... so they probably aren't going to get it on the first go. But the water a hundred feet down in the ocean is actually pretty cool. This makes sense... it all comes down to materials selection. Salt water is highly corrosive and they'll need something that can handle hoovering up large jelly fish and such without dying.

All in all, an interesting, and definately not very secret, project.

Re:"Secret" (5, Insightful)

jo_ham (604554) | about 9 months ago | (#45246715)

Why use the seawater as your working fluid?

Just make a closed cycle and put a heat exchanger down there. No need for the seawater to be exposed to anything except the exterior radiators.

Re:"Secret" (3, Insightful)

MightyYar (622222) | about 9 months ago | (#45246735)

I assume they'd use some kind of a binary system, with fresh water in the cooling loop and pumping salt water through the heat exchangers. I don't think you'd want to rely on natural heat dissipation, as you'd need a very large radiator, and sea life would love to grow all over it.

Re:"Secret" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45246789)

Oil is better than water in cooling loops.

Re:"Secret" (2)

John.Banister (1291556) | about 9 months ago | (#45247065)

Glycol is better in non phase change cooling loops as it has a higher specific heat. However, using cold sea water to condense refrigerants is very common. One nice way would be with Alpha Laval plate heat exchangers (or the Indian copies), and a hypochlorite generator on the sea water side to control (kill) the marine life internal to the apparatus.

Re:"Secret" (4, Informative)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about 9 months ago | (#45247093)

For example, the Navy uses 2190 mineral oil [mil-specproducts.com] to cool the 23699 synthetic oil [everyspec.com] in the LM2500 gas turbines that move most of the fleet. The 2190 is also used to lube the main reduction gear [fbo.gov] that steps down the RPM of that LM2500 by a ratio of ratio of 21.3746 to 1 (ISTR it was 27:1 on the old Ticonderoga-class, but this is a different drive train).
The 2190 mineral oil system has a heat exchanger, trading all that lovely hotness with seawater.
The rationale for using 2190 to cool the high-performance 23699 is that, in case of a heat exchanger failure, a bit of mineral oil in the synthetic (for which the engineers test repeatedly throughout the day) is a lot less damaging than getting seawater in there.

Re:"Secret" (2)

TheResilientFarter (3216187) | about 9 months ago | (#45247139)

Usually the Navy (and others, I'm sure) mitigates contamination with pressure. The system of greater concern will operate at a higher pressure, so when there is a leak it goes in one direction.

Re:"Secret" (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about 9 months ago | (#45247199)

You see that a lot in CBR systems, too.

Re:"Secret" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45246739)

I think the radiators are the part you would worry about corroding.

Re: "Secret" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45248181)

yeah, don't worry about blowing salt laden air over electronics, it's gold plated, right?

Re:"Secret" (1)

hebertrich (472331) | about 9 months ago | (#45250021)

See sacrifice rods.

Re:"Secret" of the secret (2)

hebertrich (472331) | about 9 months ago | (#45250051)

see sacrifice rods

Re:"Secret" (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 9 months ago | (#45246745)

Are there even any datacenters, power plants, or other such facilities that don't use a closed-loop (full of suitably domesticated, additive-laced, and probably unpleasant enough to be illegal to discharge in quantity, between the metal ions and the assorted biocides, coolant fluid) and then a big, durable, heat exchanger that couples the internal loop to the hostile-but-cheap cold water from the outside world?

This doesn't change the general "Oh, you want to put that on a boat... Just go back over my price list and double all the numbers you see..." rule; but I'd be more surprised to hear about somebody playing fast-and-dangerous with an open-loop cooling system, directly exposed to the environment, than by Google attempting to put a rack of servers almost anywhere in or near Earth's gravity well...

Re:"Secret" (3, Funny)

umghhh (965931) | about 9 months ago | (#45246939)

Japanese use seawater for cooling their nuclear reactors so I guess there must be some advantage in doing exactly that.

Re:"Secret" (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45247043)

Japanese use seawater for cooling their nuclear reactors so I guess there must be some advantage in doing exactly that.

Yeah because that worked out so very well...

Re:"Secret" (2, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 9 months ago | (#45247729)

Japanese use seawater for cooling their nuclear reactors so I guess there must be some advantage in doing exactly that.

You can use tsunamis to rapidly cool your core after the earthquake shuts the system down.

Oh. Wait.

Re:"Secret" (0)

Cryacin (657549) | about 9 months ago | (#45248717)

What they don't want you to know...

The tsunami was caused when the Angels first impacted in the pacific ocean. The radiation actually emanated from their destruction, showering everything in the deadliest of Weapons grade Baloneum particles. The nuclear reactor was just a clever coverup. The NERV of those guys.

Re:"Secret" (3, Interesting)

rtb61 (674572) | about 9 months ago | (#45249053)

Add warmth in deep cold water and you get sky rocketing growth and your heat exchange fails. Coat your heat exchanger with sufficiently toxic products to prevent growth and you not only limit heat exchange but you also pollute the environment. The commute is now also a huge problem especially in stormy whether, you limit you possible work force to those who will accept being trapped at your whim or the weather's whim. Salt corrosion will occur through out the vessel, water vapour droplets generated through wind turbulence (not evaporation) are very salty (as a result of partial evaporation) and will be a permanent nightmare to block, clean, prevent corrosion.

This has nothing to do with cooling as pumping the water would be car cheaper and everything to do with what is becoming a rather douchy company simply cheating on property taxes. Of course this will blow up in their faces when, it comes to supplying energy to the thing, removing waste especially sewerage, supply fresh water and food, especially during extended inclement weather and one power disruption and profits gone.

Note also I would have to side with coastal inhabitants who complained that they hunk of junk spoiled their view and who demanded a block to the permanent mooring unless it was far enough out to sea not to obstruct or interfere with their view.

Re:"Secret" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45246773)

definately

:-(

Greetings from a foreigner.

Re:"Secret" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45246847)

definately

:-(

Greetings from a foreigner^Wproduct of the American educational system.

FTFY

Re:"Secret" (2, Insightful)

umghhh (965931) | about 9 months ago | (#45246915)

This is not the point actually but even if it were - secret is not that the big artificial island is built but what is its purpose. From all the movies I have seen last few decades, this never ends well - the evil starting from the artificial construction destroys civilization leaving small group surviving if at all. That is actually a good solution because it tends to show idyllic surroundings and Tom Cruise (or other Hollywood world savior) with some nice female over a newly born that is a hope for the human kind etc.

Alternatively James Bonds arrives and destroys the damned thing and the human kind continues its pointless existence. Either way this thing is going to sink. Possibly in flames.

Re:"Secret" (1)

icebike (68054) | about 9 months ago | (#45248199)

Put down the pop-corn big guy.

There is a reason this is done only in the movies. Its because they are movies.

Re:"Secret" (1)

ALeader71 (687693) | about 9 months ago | (#45247827)

If it was my project I'd use extendable plastic pipes to circulate the cooling liquid and let the colder sea water carry away the heat. It's certainly more efficient than air, and San Francisco Bay's water is pretty cold to being with. It would take a monumental amount of heat to alter the Bay's ecosystem.

Re:"Secret" (3, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | about 9 months ago | (#45248185)

Seems like a big investment to build on a barge that can get swamped by the first storm that comes along.

You then have the problem of power, and communications that have to be fed to the barge. If you run your own
generators you have a refueling problem, with risk of spill at every refueling.

Once you get out of the bay, you have a police protection issue. Pretty hard to call the cops. Pretty risky
to start shooting at lookie-lews.

You have transport to and from issues as well. And if you think anyone is going to allow you to avoid taxes this way, well good luck with that.

In the first world, this makes no sense, and even the sea water cooling could be accommodated by cheaply laid pipe to land.
In the third world, this might make sense, because towed to Africa and guarded by some friendly government you
could use it as a base to handle all your balloon wifi or what ever hair brained scheme you might be planning.

Re:"Secret" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45249595)

And - as based in America - none of the data dat will be stored there will be safe from the "spy-on-every-person-in-the-world" NSA.

Be very, very, very, carefull if Google start to offer any form of "cloud storage".

Really - company's can better stop using cloud services (that also includes everything offered by Microsoft) and start storing heavely encrypted data local. That goes especially for sensitive data (that can be used by American based concurrents). Do not trust anything that's based in America!!

They got a patent on sea based data centers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45251141)

How can you get a patent on something like this?

Can I just go through the patent book and apply for patents with "sea based" prefixing everything in it? What about "land based"? Or I guess if you were very forward thinking you might want to go for "moon based" .....

Stupid place to put it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45246667)

Lee shore with high winds

San Francisco? (4, Funny)

BlindRobin (768267) | about 9 months ago | (#45246707)

They'll have to sail it around the horn or teleport it because everyone knows they only place to put a floating data centre is at the centre of the Bermuda triangle so that it can take advantage of all the free energy from the astral vortex.

Re:San Francisco? (1)

SimonInOz (579741) | about 9 months ago | (#45247141)

I don't recall seeing this when I was at the centre of the Bermuda Triangle some time back. Maybe it was hidden in the mysterious mist that is supposed to arise there.

Re:San Francisco? (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 9 months ago | (#45247735)

Oh thanks. That explains things. I wondered where the "as well as an inexpensive source of power -- the sea" quote came from.

Other than the journalist's last hit off the bong.

Re:San Francisco? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45248567)

They'll have to sail it around the horn or teleport it because everyone knows they only place to put a floating data centre is at the centre of the Bermuda triangle so that it can take advantage of all the free energy from the astral vortex.

Based on the numbers in the article, it should easily fit through the Panama canal, so it looks like they already thought that through.

Treasure Island (2)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 9 months ago | (#45246825)

as well as undertaking odd and unexpected projects like trying to bring Internet access to developing nations via balloons and blimps.

In this case they're trying to bring internet access to pirates.

To quote Betteridge's law (1)

Introspective (71476) | about 9 months ago | (#45246841)

... Any headline which ends in a question mark can be answered "no"

I just can't see how an underwater data centre could be more economical than a normal one on land. Maybe they're experimenting with some new offshore cooling system, but a whole data centre? No.

Re:To quote Betteridge's law (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45246907)

It's not underwater, it's floating. And the area has a very mild climate in the summer which will reduce the cooling load, and the San Francisco bay is also freezing cold, so the water can probably be brought in for cooling. This is why prisoners didn't often make the swim between Alcatraz and SF.

Re:To quote Betteridge's law (1)

icebike (68054) | about 9 months ago | (#45248223)

Unlikely they would build it on a barge to operate it in San Francisco bay.
It would be way cheaper to build it on land and build a pipe to the bay.

Besides, anyone thinking of pumping massive amounts of heat into the bay is going to find their head meeting a green brick wall in short order.
And there would be permits already being filed for such activity.

This thing is going to be towed away somewhere where governments are more cooperative, or have less to say about what is going on.

Re:To quote Betteridge's law (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45247509)

Is seems like we've heard this fairytale before. Glomar Explorer. A plausible idea on the surface, but completely stupid if you really look into it. Anybody really think they are testing out a new fangled cooling system at this scale? Is google really having trouble keeping computers cool at this scale? Why keep that a secret?

Re:To quote Betteridge's law (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 9 months ago | (#45247671)

Four floors, and built out of shipping containers - the dirt-cheap construction option. It isn't actually that big, and a lot of it might be empty space. It may well be a testbed to work on those new-fangled cooling systems, refining the technology. Half the energy cost of a datacenter goes on cooling - it's understandable google might be looking into the idea.

Re:To quote Betteridge's law (1)

smith6174 (986645) | about 9 months ago | (#45247853)

"Half the energy cost of a datacenter goes on cooling" And now the cost will be replaced by a mobile generator or a really long power cord? I think it is obvious that Google is involved, but why jump to conclusions about energy savings? Isn't it more likely that putting a data center on a barge will save real estate costs and property taxes?

Re:To quote Betteridge's law (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 9 months ago | (#45248053)

Because slashdot is full of engineers. We think in engineering terms.

Supplying data to a floating center is easy - just a few short undersea fibers and a kevlar rope to support it coming up, no problem. Power, though, you are right - you can't just chuck a power cord in the ocean. Undersea power cables are very expensive. It could well be a tax dodge. Risky, though - spending a lot of money on something that could be regulated to uselessness in a few years.

Re:To quote Betteridge's law (2)

EETech1 (1179269) | about 9 months ago | (#45251209)

It seemed to me like it was going to be wave powered.

If your power is free and your cooling is free a project like this makes a lot of sense.

Re:To quote Betteridge's law (1)

icebike (68054) | about 9 months ago | (#45248505)

Isn't it more likely that putting a data center on a barge will save real estate costs and property taxes?

Only if you tow it out of some citie's jurisdiction. Which, requires having a massive fiber-optic cable, and shore support facilities. You can't just go out and anchor some huge barge just anywhere. There are shipping lanes to consider, risks to navigation, 200 mile economic exclusion zone issues.

On the other hand, if Brazil was getting seriously pissed at US Snooping, and insisted that Google either get out of the country or build an in-country data center, this platform could be floated there in two weeks, and would allow an in-country presence.

Re:To quote Betteridge's law (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45248009)

Clearly these barges are designed to harvest manganese nodules, Venusian swamp gas and other minerals from the floor of the ocean and have absolutely nothing to do with intercepting SIGINT from, well, everyone once we get a fleet of these "manganese-mining super wifi convenience routers" built and parked off the coast of every major city within reach of an ocean or river.

Can you say... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45246871)

Metal Gear?

There'a another in Portland, Maine (5, Informative)

WaxlyMolding (1062736) | about 9 months ago | (#45246929)

There is another barge in the harbor in Portland, Maine http://www.pressherald.com/news/Myserty_Portland_barge_and_San_Francisco_barge_appear_linked_.html [pressherald.com]

Re:There'a another in Portland, Maine (3, Funny)

EdZ (755139) | about 9 months ago | (#45247665)

Google are outgrowing intercontinental fibre-optic cables. Too expensive, and insufficient bandwidth! Instead, they're implementing an extension of RFC1149 [ietf.org] , with the avian carriers replaced with bulk cargo shipping. A station wagon full of tapes has nothing on this!

Re:There'a another in Portland, Maine (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45248395)

"Cables? Where we're going we don't need cables." - Tesla

Re:There'a another in Portland, Maine (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45248755)

No no no. They'll go with shark-mounted laser transmission.

Re:There'a another in Portland, Maine (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45247953)

The registration numbers on the barges are in binary: "BAL 0010" and “BAL 0011." So, where's "BAL 0001?"

Re:There'a another in Portland, Maine (1)

adolf (21054) | about 9 months ago | (#45249193)

Uranus.

'google' these days (1)

Mister Liberty (769145) | about 9 months ago | (#45246943)

functions perfectly as a front for You Know What.
There's trade in them data, you know.

Re:'google' these days (2)

smith6174 (986645) | about 9 months ago | (#45247101)

By 'Google', you mean that intelligence organization we keep hearing about with unlimited cash provided by ads nobody has ever clicked?

Structure Envy (2)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 9 months ago | (#45246971)

Apple going to build a fancy Spaceship? Fine, Google will just build a goddam giant undersea fortress!

Re:Structure Envy (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about 9 months ago | (#45247067)

. . . meanwhile, Microsoft is building a giant wooden rabbit . . . once Apple takes the rabbit inside their spaceship, Ballmer will jump out and surprise . . .

. . . maybe Google will fall for a giant wooden badger . . . ?

Neal Stephenson (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | about 9 months ago | (#45247167)

How can they get a patent on this? Wasn't pretty much the same thing done in Snow Crash, albeit for a different reason?

Re:Neal Stephenson (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | about 9 months ago | (#45248603)

The fact that something was done in a work of fiction has nothing to do with getting a patent for developing the idea in the Real World.

Re:Neal Stephenson (2)

Jeremi (14640) | about 9 months ago | (#45249585)

How can they get a patent on this? Wasn't pretty much the same thing done in Snow Crash, albeit for a different reason?

Are you suggesting that Google is building a prototype depleted-uranium railgun? If so, this is going to be awesome... Redmond will never know what hit them.

Re:Neal Stephenson (1)

RDW (41497) | about 9 months ago | (#45252487)

With all those mysterious shipping containers and the Bay Bridge, this looks much more William Gibson than Neal Stephenson.

Sail Away... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45247503)

Maybe they are planning on taking it out into international waters...

Re:Sail Away... (2)

JustOK (667959) | about 9 months ago | (#45247581)

with black jack and hookers

Re:Sail Away... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45248829)

Going Galt...

1. Take operations into international waters. (3, Insightful)

Shavano (2541114) | about 9 months ago | (#45247575)

2. Deliver all ads from those servers.
3. Evade taxes in every jurisdiction by declaring that all ad revenue is generated in FloatingAdServer1 through FloatingAdServer14.
4. Profit!

Re:1. Take operations into international waters. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45250159)

They'd be pirates, literally, if they would operate without flying a national flag. And once they do, they're subject to the tax laws of that jurisdiction.

Of course, Google can now choose in which country to register, and still get nanosecond latencies to the west coast. Putting your datacentre in Ireland itself would give you milliseconds of latency to the US.

Re:1. Take operations into international waters. (1)

fa2k (881632) | about 9 months ago | (#45250321)

They wouldn't be pirates at all, they'd be like another nation. Governments could decide to allow them to exchange data or to block everything with import restrictions (or even threaten with war). The datacentre wouldn't be protected by a national government, so they'd have to protect themselves against pirates.

Don't worry (1)

greggman (102198) | about 9 months ago | (#45248059)

It's only Google planning for another epic Holiday Party

Fewer building permits, chance of no property tax (1)

silicon dad (778893) | about 9 months ago | (#45248257)

Even with Steve Jobs showing up at city council, permits still might sink Apple's mothership. And if they register it in Lyberia and moor it in Mexico for a while they might escape property taxes too.

You are over a month behind on news (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45248609)

The Apple mothership building was approved last September.

There's another one here in Portland, Maine (1)

CFD339 (795926) | about 9 months ago | (#45248453)

Pretty much the same, on a floating barge here in Portland. Just read an article about it the paper (dead tree version). It's pretty clearly tied to google, that's clear. Also, the registrations of these two barges were a three letter designation and then 0010 and 0011 so there's probably at least one more out there (0001) somewhere and quite possibly at 0000 too.

Re:There's another one here in Portland, Maine (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45248621)

The three letter designation, BAL, is the front company's name abbreviated. The name? "By And Large." That is, "barge."

Re:There's another one here in Portland, Maine (1)

CFD339 (795926) | about 9 months ago | (#45248825)

Fscking Google. Too clever by half.

EIR? (1)

istartedi (132515) | about 9 months ago | (#45248655)

I would think that rejecting lots of waste heat into San Francisco Bay would require an Environmental Impact Report, as well as approval from the Coastal Commission and probably other government checks. IANALaywer or expert on these things; but just follow the news on things like the remodels of piers in San Francisco and other things that touch the water. If Google somehow manages to be "special" on something like that, well... EVIL!

yeah it IS California. You need a permit to piss (1)

raymorris (2726007) | about 9 months ago | (#45249793)

Although the the heat from some servers would make zero difference given that the ocean currents mix with the entire Pacific Ocean, this is California. Specifically, San Francisco. Last I heard, you need a permit to urinate in SF because the odor could effect air quality and if you can get a piss permit it takes a few years.

And? (0)

The Cat (19816) | about 9 months ago | (#45249245)

The government's "Stop Building Things" Committee and "No More Jobs Here" Department haven't confiscated it yet?

gurgle (3, Funny)

GrimShady (2714901) | about 9 months ago | (#45249279)

maybe they will change their name to Gurgle

Bandwidth? (1)

Bazman (4849) | about 9 months ago | (#45249883)

I say I say I say, how does a floating data center connect to the internet?

Pier-to-pier networking!

But seriously, what bandwidth and latency can you expect from something out in the ocean, unless they drag a wodge of fibres with them or tap into something on the seabed...

There's 4 of them (5, Informative)

wimh (3410971) | about 9 months ago | (#45249911)

According to the US ship registration database (go to http://www.st.nmfs.noaa.gov/st1/CoastGuard/VesselByName.html [noaa.gov] and search for BAL0), there are four similar barges, with the convenient names:
BAL0001
BAL0010
BAL0011
BAL0100

Looks like there's a pattern there, and it does scream Google...

Floating? No. Submersed? Better (1)

petes_PoV (912422) | about 9 months ago | (#45250289)

How do you get all the network cabling to a floating datacentre? One good gust of wind and the datacentre moves (unless it's like an oil rig, but that doesn't sound like a "floating" datacentre) and the cables stretch and break.

Better to submerge the datacentre. When it's firmly anchored to the seabed it can't move - but it still has all the seawater around it for cooling. You'd probably need something like Stromberg's setup (from 007: The Spy Who Loved Me) in reality, to get peope to & from it.

In addition it has the advantage that not being in any one country's territotial waters, the tax situation could be very beneficial.

Microsoft is ready to take measures against this. (1)

ctrl-alt-canc (977108) | about 9 months ago | (#45250293)

Microsoft set up some time ago a submarine fleet [bornrich.com] , whose purpose is now clear: they want to torpedo Google's fleet!

The real question is power (maybe network) (1)

markhahn (122033) | about 9 months ago | (#45252905)

Containerized servers are old hat, and they don't make a lot of sense under normal conditions. Mobility and redeployment really need to be important goals to justify the compromises.

Containers are roughly 8x8x40, so naively could contain 80x 54u racks, which means up to 2 MW/container. In reality, density probably wouldn't be nearly that high, but probably the better part of 1 MW. Water cooling with aquasar-type heatsinks would be an obvious implementation. The barge looks like a 3x3x2 prism of these containers, so will likely want around 20 MW. My first guess about cooling would just be to make the whole hull into a heat-exchanger - double-walled hulls are quite common in shipbuilding and it wouldn't take that much engineering to create a reasonably efficient circulation pattern.

But I'm pretty skeptical about whether that kind of power could be gotten from wave generation.

Floating Energy and Cooling source (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45253085)

It's all about the cooling and self sustaining energy. This looks like a rebirth of Sun Microsystems 'Black Box'. http://inhabitat.com/sun-microsystems-project-blackbox/ in another form.

for the NSA (1)

Jamie Ian Macgregor (3389757) | about 9 months ago | (#45255641)

move the NSA out there, cut the cables and give 'em a push out to sea. google has the right idea.
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