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Data Center Cooling

Data Center Cooling

Advanced computing paradigms like HPC, AI, and Cloud Computing have achieved breakthrough results across several industries. The requirements for data center solutions that can support these technologies with vast computing power grow in tandem. Modern data centers are expected to handle enormous data traffic and complex calculations, which leads to them generating immense amounts of heat. Therefore, data center cooling solutions that can keep up with the extreme heat generation of server components are the need of the hour. Direct Liquid Cooling (DLC), a cooling technology in which components are cooled using fluid instead of air, is particularly suitable for this purpose. Here is a deep dive into how DLC has proven to be beneficial for data centers.

The Superior Advantage of DLC For Modern Date Centers

HPC and AI

High-performance computing and AI systems work with massive data sets using powerful CPUs and GPUs that constitute their computing nodes. Handling these complex and computationally intensive workloads places extreme processing requirements on the compute elements, leading to high Thermal Design Power (TDP) values for the CPUs and GPUs that constitute the server module.

To ensure optimal performance under such conditions, DLC is a viable and sustainable option. For example, GIGABYTE’s server solutions integrate a DLC technology-based cooling solution from CoolIT Systems, which passes liquid coolant close to heat-generating components like the CPU, GPU, power supply, and voltage regulators. Then, the hot coolant flows into a Coolant Distribution Unit (CDU) via a rack manifold. The CDU is responsible for heat exchange and pumping coolant back towards the compute node. An optional rack-mounted heat exchanger may also be added for further heat dissipation.

The targeted nature of DLC technology leads to a more effective cooling solution compared to air cooling systems that are prevalent in traditional data centers. DLC also supports denser configurations for computing server solutions, resulting in significant performance boosts.

Cloud and Edge Computing

Edge data centers are located close to the end-user to deliver services like high-quality streaming with near-zero latency. Although they connect to a central data and computing center, they often include cloud computing capabilities to minimise response times.

Although they are not as computationally intensive as centralised data centers, edge centers still need high processing capabilities within limited spaces. DLC technology is suited for server cooling under such constraints as it does not use bulky fans and heat sinks. It uses integrated cold plates with microchannels that allow liquid coolant to flow close to high TDP components. There is no pumping component inside the passive cold plate, which minimises the size of the computing node and reduces the chances of failure.

In addition to low-footprint cooling, DLC’s modular nature allows ease of scalability, enabling seamless upgrades of edge data centers without compromising on performance. It also reduces the failure rates of components, which minimises the maintenance costs of the distributed edge centers.

Sustainability

While the computing revolution is transforming industries and helping them solve complex problems rapidly, the rising prevalence of data centers also leads to astronomical leaps in energy consumption. Air conditioning to maintain optimal temperature at a data center accounts for almost one-third of its total power consumption. The increase in cooling infrastructure not only leads to higher power expenditure but also occupies more space. High workloads also lead to a rise in component failure, which adds to the electronic waste generated by data centers.

DLC has the density and efficiency required to significantly reduce the energy expenditure for cooling and restrict the footprint of the cooling infrastructure. DLC’s compact nature minimises the space occupied by the data servers, reducing the strain on air conditioning systems. Furthermore, the targeted use of liquid coolant to extract heat from high TDP elements leads to more effective heat removal, thereby reducing the number of fans needed for cooling. This leads to a further footprint reduction.

DLC also extends the lifetime of server components by more efficient cooling and reduced vibration stress from fans. This decreases the environmental impact arising from electronic waste and the associated operational costs required for replacement and disposal.

Conclusion

Our DLC solutions enable organisations to implement a space, power and cost-efficient cooling system. They minimise the requirement for secondary cooling products like air conditioners and chillers, helping you minimise your energy footprint. Furthermore, their modular design and in-built fault detection sensors ensure ease of maintenance for the seamless and hassle-free operation of your data center at optimal temperature.