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Project Natick’s Northern Isles datacenter is partially submerged and cradled by winches and cranes between the pontoons of an industrial catamaran-like gantry barge. At the deployment site, a cable containing fiber optic and power wiring was attached to the Microsoft datacenter, and then the datacenter and cable lowered foot-by-foot 117 feet to the seafloor. (Photo and caption courtesy Microsoft / Scott Eklund/Red Box Pictures.)

If you’ve ever happened upon a conventional data center, you were probably underwhelmed: most resemble a supersized Wal-Mart with acres of nothingness surrounding them. Microsoft’s Project Natick is a very different undertaking, and it’s letting the public get a closer look at life in its neighborhood.

Microsoft unveiled two live-streaming webcams Thursday attached to its Project Natick data center, which is currently operating near the Orkney Islands off Scotland’s northern tip. Project Natick is an experiment designed to evaluate whether undersea data centers are a safe and practical way of deploying cloud computing services near coastal population centers.

Fish swarm outside MIcrosoft’s Project Natick data center. (GeekWire screenshot)

The digital aquarium can be found on Project Natick’s web site, and right now it looks like the fishing is pretty good around the data center, which was placed beneath the waves earlier this year. If anybody spots a leak, please let me know as soon as possible.

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