Lights-out data centers are the way to go for ocean-faring facilities. Everything is tested before the data center sets sail.
Each self-contained data center is coated with a corrosion-resistant paint so it can stand up to the constant salt in the air, as is the cabling.
Self-contained cooling, which uses refrigerant, can be isolated from the ship's cooling system. High-density computing on exploratory vessels, for instance, uses direct liquid cooling.
"In some of these [containerized data centers], we have compute drawing 200 kW in a very small space. On land you might spread that power on many racks, but here you only have a little room," said Matthew Coffel, director of business development for oil and gas at AST Modular.
Servers sit on seismic isolation platforms to withstand jostling from waves and storms. Power comes from diesel turbines or generators, or from excess natural gas that is a byproduct of oil extraction.
"Everything is purpose-built for the ocean environment, but it is a reapplication of mobile data center technologies and ruggedization," Coffel said.