There are two main reasons  businesses are looking at this concept as a viable data solution. (In fact,  some are doing more than exploring the idea; Microsoft recently tested  a wet data center, with seemingly satisfactory results). First, it’s easier  to get permits to put a data center (in Microsoft’s case, a 10’x7’ shell) under  water than it is to build one on land. Second, controlling the temperature of a  data center, which is a real chore above water, is simpler in the colder ocean  floor environment.

The term ‘wet data center’ refers to outfitting a data center in a waterproof capsule on the ocean floor.

Though it might seem harsh to  some, once a wet data center is deployed, tests have shown that the environment  is stable—the water temperature is constant, and storms and currents don’t  affect it. One other bonus is that tidal energy can be used to power and cool  the data centers. In turn, they could serve a dual purpose as artificial reefs  that support the surrounding ecosystem by preventing erosion, controlling  shipping lanes, and improving surf conditions. Such artificial reefs are  important, but serve only that one purpose; a wet data center would serve dual  purposes.

Of course, putting a data  center at the bottom of the ocean requires world-class submarine connectivity.  Ciena’s GeoMesh solution converges submarine and terrestrial networks and  web-scale technologies, yielding economies of scale across the entire global  network that were previously impossible. The combination of coherent transport  and ROADMs lowers costs and end-to-end latency—while bringing total capacities  to web-scale levels.

Using Ciena’s new WaveLogic 3  Extreme coherent transmission technology, GeoMesh enables operators to adopt  new global network designs while increasing ultimate segment capacity. It  offers optimum performance on segments of any wet plant technology or length—up  to 11,000 km.

Typically, submarine networks have  been proprietary turnkey network solutions—in other words, they’ve been closed.  Over the past few years, all that has changed. With the advent of coherent  detection modems originally developed for long haul terrestrial networks, openness  is taking hold in the submarine network industry. With the promising concept of  Wet Data Centers on the horizon, network openness will be critical.