A mysterious Google construction project involving shipping containers may be a floating data center.

Mystery Google project may highlight demand for off-site data storage

Stephen Perkins

Google has been receiving a lot of attention this past week over a mysterious construction project involving shipping containers in the San Francisco Bay. While the tech giant has been tight-lipped about its purpose, many in the IT world believe it will be used as a large data center. Others, meanwhile, simply think it is part of a marketing campaign to coincide with the release of Google Glass.

With speculation running rampant, the notion of a floating data center is interesting because it highlights the rising demand for massive data storage capacities. For those wondering why one would be located in open water, the reason has do with access to unlimited amounts of water for cooling purposes.

"In spite of continuing progress in data storage energy efficiency, the big data trend means that increasing amounts of data need to be stored, and that means more waste heat for facilities to manage," according to a recent Midsize Insider article.

In 2005, Google built its first data center using shipping containers for server rooms, and it currently uses seawater as a cooling mechanism in Finland. Whether the project is a floating data center or marketing scheme, the belief in the former underscores the growing demand for off-site data storage – and lots of it – as a vast buildup of information fuels the need for advanced solutions.

Categories: Data Management, Data Protection