September 29, 2023


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Is a lack of standards holding immersion cooling back? • The Register


Comment Liquid and immersion cooling have undergone some thing of a renaissance in the datacenter in latest several years as factors have grown at any time hotter.

This pattern has only accelerated more than the previous several months as we have seen a fervor of innovation and enhancement all-around anything from liquid-cooled servers and parts for distributors that consider the only way to interesting these units prolonged time period is to drench them in a vat of refrigerants.

Liquid and immersion cooling are by no usually means new systems. They’ve had a storied background in the substantial-effectiveness computing house, in units like HPE’s Apollo, Cray, and Lenovo’s Neptune to title just a handful.

A main aspect driving the adoption of this tech in conventional datacenters is a blend of extra potent chips and a typical desire to minimize functioning prices by curbing power intake.

A single of the challenges, however, is numerous of these methods use radically distinct variety elements than are typical in air-cooled datacenters. Some programs only demand modest variations to the existing rack infrastructure, though other individuals ditch that conference entirely in favor of large tubs into which servers are vertically slotted.

The means these technologies are getting applied is a mixed bag to say the least.

Immersion cooling meets rack mount

This obstacle was on whole display screen this week at HPE Uncover, wherever the IT goliath announced a collaboration with Intel and Iceotope to deliver immersion-cooling tech to HPE’s company-centered Proliant server line.

The units can now be provisioned with Iceotope’s Ku:l immersion and liquid-cooling engineering, by using HPE’s channel companions with help delivered by distributor Avnet Built-in. Iceotope’s types meld aspects of immersion cooling and shut-loop liquid cooling to enable this technologies to be deployed in rack environments with minimal improvements to the current infrastructure.

Ice’s chassis-level immersion-cooling platform successfully works by using the server’s scenario as a reservoir and then pumps coolant in the course of to hotspots like the CPU, GPU, or memory. The firm also presents a 3U conversion package for adapting air-cooled servers to liquid cooling.

Both equally designs utilize a liquid-to-liquid heat exchanger towards the back again of the chassis, the place deionized water is pumped in and heat is eliminated from the method making use of an exterior dry cooler.

This is a stark departure from the strategy made use of by rival immersion-cooling vendors, these as LiquidStack or Submer, which favor submerging many devices in a tub complete of coolant — generally a two-section refrigerant or specialized oil.

Whilst this solution has shown promise, and has even been deployed in Microsoft’s Azure datacenters, the unique sort components could have to have particular thing to consider from constructing operators. Excess weight distribution is amid operators’ primary worries, Dell’Oro analyst Lucas Beran advised The Register in an previously interview.

Standardized reference types in the will work

The lack of a standardized form aspect for deploying and utilizing these systems is a person of many difficulties Intel hopes to deal with with its $700 million Oregon liquid and immersion cooling lab.

Introduced in late Could, the 200,000-sq.-foot facility, situated about 20 miles west of Portland at its Hillsboro campus in the US, will qualify, take a look at, and demo its expansive datacenter portfolio employing a variety of cooling tech. The chipmaker is also explained to be doing the job on an open up reference structure for an immersion-cooling program that is getting designed by Intel Taiwan.

Intel designs to provide other Taiwanese suppliers into the fold in advance of rolling out the reference design and style globally. Regardless of whether the x86 huge will be able to carry any consistency to the way immersion cooling will be deployed in datacenters heading ahead continues to be to be witnessed, having said that.

Even if Intel’s reference design in no way pans out, there are nevertheless other initiatives pursuing equivalent aims, together with the Open up Compute Project’s superior cooling solutions sub undertaking, launched in 2018.

It aims to build an ecosystem of servers, storage, and networking gear crafted around typical specifications for immediate call, immersion, and other cooling tech.

In the meantime, the business will carry on chilling the most effective means it can. ®


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