Barge off: Nautilus to bring floating datacenters to two new sites in US, France

7.5 megawatt digs on the murky waters of Marseille and Los Angeles

A company that builds floating, sustainable datacenters has signed leases for two new 7.5 megawatt facilities, one in Marseille in France and another in Los Angeles, California.

Nautilus Data Technologies claims to be able to have datacenters built to its design and operational within 12 months, and has facilities already operating on barges moored in rivers or ports.

According to the company, both of the new locations offer advantages for siting datacenter facilities, including access to major telecommunications hubs, a robust power grid, and a temperate climate. The Los Angeles location is said to offer customers direct access to the One Wilshire Campus, a termination point for multiple international fiber links, making it a key communications hub of the Pacific Rim.

Meanwhile, the Marseille facility will be sited less than 3km (1.8 miles) from the nearest cable landing station and will be close to other major access points, with Marseille also a trans-Atlantic gateway point linking Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia.

Chief Executive Officer of the Marseille Port Authority Hervé Martel said that as France's second largest datacenter market, the city wanted a new bit barn to have sustainable credentials.

"We wanted to bring a datacenter that truly considers its effect on the community. A datacenter that doesn't waste our resources and runs with less power," he said in a statement.

A key part of the company's datacenter architecture is its cooling system, which uses a combination of a closed loop system and water drawn from the environment to keep IT infrastructure operating within acceptable limits. This system is claimed to consume no water and requires 30 percent less power than alternatives.

The internal closed loop may use immersion, direct-to-chip, overhead coil, or rear door exchange cooling systems, with the coolant circulating via a heat exchanger. The open loop part of the system takes in water from a lake, river, or ocean and filters it before passing it through the heat exchanger and returning it to the source with only a minimal increase in temperature, Nautilus claims.

Nautilus CEO Rob Pfleging reckons the two new sites reinforce the company’s commitment to setting higher standards for performance, efficiency, sustainability, and global scalability.

"We're all about speed to market while reducing environmental impact," he claimed.

In each facility, customers can implement tailored solutions within the design and have the option of choosing hot aisle containment, rear-door cooling, immersion, or direct-to-chip liquid cooling within the data hall itself, he added.

One company that has made use of Nautilus' facilities is cloud storage outfit BackBlaze, which announced in September that it had contracted for 1MW of the total available 7MW capacity at the Nautilus Stockton Datacenter moored on the San Joaquin river.

Nautilus claimed that its water-cooling technology was able to keep the Stockton facility at an average temperature of 82.9°F (28°C) during the heatwave in California this year, when ambient temperatures outside hit 115°F (46°C). ®

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