5 Valid Concerns about Liquid Cooling Technology (which are soon to be history)

Traditionally, when building a new data centre, roughly 35% of capital expenditure would be spent on cooling equipment, which accounts for 50% of the ongoing running costs.

New, more powerful processors put higher demands on traditional cooling technology and legacy equipment won’t cut it in a world of increasing heat loads with CPU’s in excess of 200W and GPU’s of 300W. Add to this the fact that new technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT) are driving demand for more and larger data centres, along with substantial investment at the Edge of Network, it’s clear that cost effective and efficient cooling technology is needed.

Most agree that liquid cooling is the answer but until now it has been regarded as a niche technology, with many compromises, that can’t meet the demands of a modern data centre.

Iceotope has developed a versatile technology that answers the historical concerns around liquid cooling and is ready to redefine the data centre cooling landscape.

Concern 1: Expense

Thanks to Iceotope’s total immersion cooling technology, expenses such as chillers, computer room air handling (CRAH) equipment, raised floors or ducting are no longer necessary but that’s just the tip of the iceberg when looking into how liquid cooling can lower data centre costs:

  • Double-digit capex savings – Iceotope’s technology requires next-to-no additional infrastructure leading to significant capex reductions for data centres.
  •  Significant floor space reduction – using anywhere between 50% - 75% less floor space, savings for customers are substantial. This leads this need to defer or obviate major capex in extending or building new data centre space.  
  •  Full integration – Iceotope can retrofit their servers into any existing rack meaning you can get immediate opex benefits without having to redesign your entire data centre, alter your supply chain or retrain your staff.
  • Consumes less energy – without the need for power-hungry computer room air handling equipment and zero fans inside the servers, Iceotope’s technology can reduce energy bills by up to 80%. Iceotope also allows the recapture and reuse of waste heat leading to an improved corporate risk and social responsibility strategy.

Concern 2: Complexity

There is a clear need to ensure your risk is managed but when you consider the exponential growth in big data and cloud computing, data centres need to adapt in order to deliver great customer service and profitability. Traditional data centre cooling equipment cannot cope with ever-increasing heat loads that new processors and apps demand. Sticking with the legacy approaches will only lead to larger footprints and increasing cost and complexity, with no competitive benefit.

Liquid cooling is essential in preventing this trend from continuing. It allows systems to be deployed with greater densities, faster speeds and more flexibility. Immersion cooling alone saves up to 75% of the floor space, simplifying data centre infrastructure.

Additionally, unlike previous types of liquid cooling, Iceotope’s specially engineered coolants are sealed and produce no residue or slip hazards within the data centre and is therefore cleaner and safer when servicing. With a similar architecture to air cooling, access to parts are straightforward with no specialist tools required. Servers are also hot swappable, allowing data centres to replace or add components with minimal disruption.

Concern 3: Proprietary technology

Previous iterations of liquid technology sacrifice flexibility in return for greater efficiency. Thanks to Iceotope; liquid cooling has moved into the mainstream and such compromises will no longer be necessary.

  • Simplified infrastructure for any data centre – removing infrastructure such as chillers; raised floors or ducting; and smaller UPS and PDU’s. Not only does this allow you to fit more IT within the same space, but you can integrate within existing infrastructure if required.
  • Accommodates any brand of IT – as liquid cooling technology has proven its potential, IT vendors are open to hardware being immersed in specially engineered coolants, without voiding warranty.

Concern 4: Save valuable resource, don’t waste it

Both energy and water are in huge demand by the world’s expanding and developing population.

Around 2.8 billion people live in areas with high water scarcity and 2.5 billion have no or unreliable access to electricity. So when we consider that in 2040 there will be a 50% increase in electricity consumption and around 40 billion connected devices, our digital future must conserve our water and energy supply.

Traditional data centre infrastructure such as evaporative methods and cooling towers are recognised as a huge contributor to water consumption. Around 800 data centres in California consume enough water to fill 158,000 Olympic swimming pools per annum!

So importantly, our immersion liquid cooling technology uses clean, safe, dependable, engineered coolant to cool down electronics – not water resource.

Iceotope uses a two-stage cooling process – the first stage being a specially engineered liquid to cool all components with the second stage transferring the heat away using a coolant loop. Not only do the coolants demand zero water consumption, they last between 15-20 years and are fully recyclable – all contributing to an excellent water usage effectiveness (WUE) metric.

When we consider that Iceotope’s liquid cooling saves up to 80% energy consumption, and you can reuse the waste heat for district heating, liquid cooled data centres become a sustainably smart business model.

Concern 5: Safety

Conventional wisdom states that liquid and electronics do not mix well – this has long been a barrier to widespread adoption of liquid cooling technology.

Iceotope has developed a liquid cooling technology that revolves around a coolant that is completely safe to use around electronics. The coolant is non-flammable, has no flash-point and is the only liquid coolant to meet Factory Mutual (FM) Standard 6930 meaning it is fully insurable, unlike other cooling methods.

The coolant is hermetically sealed inside the server so, thanks to the lack of air intakes, the components inside are protected from dust and dirt leading to longer product lifecycles and zero failure. 

Conclusion

As demonstrated throughout this article, there are legitimate concerns around liquid cooling, which our new technology and innovation are countering.

We have seen a confidence shift in liquid cooling technology from data centres and businesses who need flexible and scalable servers to keep up with increasing digital demand, cloud computing and big data.

Ultimately the future of IT, application development and, importantly, your competitive advantage will be forever changed by our technology.

Liquid cooling is the new mainstream, and it is the future of IT.

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