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Liquid-cooled servers enable cost, space savings

Posted: 23 Nov 2009     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:liquid-cooled server  motherboard  data centre 

Boston IT Solutions (India) Pte Ltd has extended their range of liquid-cooled servers, featuring patented "modular liquid immersion" technology from Iceotope Ltd. This technology leverages the thermal superiority of liquids to reduce the operating costs of large-scale computing facilities such as data centres.

Each server motherboard is completely immersed in an individually sealed bath of an inert liquid coolant which passively transfers heat away from the sensitive electronics to a tightly integrated heat exchanger formed by the wall of the bath where water is continuously re-circulated and cooled. Compared to traditional air cooling systems, the two liquids are thousands of times more effective in capturing and transferring heat, thereby requiring much less energy to run the overall system as the water can be allowed to run warmer whilst still providing adequate cooling.

Cooling typically accounts for 30 percent or more of electricity operating costs in traditional air cooled data centres due to the requirement to operate Computer Room Air Conditioning (CRAC) units and refrigeration plant (chillers) to circulate large volumes of cold air to the servers. A typical air cooled data centre with around 1000 servers would require approximately 1MW of electricity to operate, of which around 300KW would be used on cooling.

The typical three-year cooling cost would therefore be around Rs.3.85 crore ($788,400). By eliminating the requirement for CRAC units and reducing the need to operate chillers by exchanging heat directly with the air outside the data centre (so-called "free cooling"), the exclusive use of liquid cooling could reduce the 3 year cooling cost to around Rs.25.66 lakh ($52,560); a 93 percent [Rs.3.59 crore ($735,840)] cost reduction compared to air cooling. By enabling servers to be packed more tightly without compromising the cooling efficiency, the same approach could reduce the space required for the servers by 84 percent.

Manoj Nayee, managing director of Boston IT Solutions (India), stated, "Boston IT Solutions (India) Private Ltd first demonstrated liquid cooling at Supercomputing in Reno (2007) showcased in a Supermicro 1U Twin server utilising Intel's 5400 (Seaburg) based chipset. We have since taken major strides forward working with Iceotope's technology. Not only does it reduce the noise and power normally generated by fans at the server level but it can also be used to totally eliminate air cooling within the server room to deliver dramatically improved thermal efficiencies."

Dan Chester, CEO of Iceotope commented, "We have been developing this technology in stealth mode for the last 18 months with input from a number of interested end-users and partners. We are delighted to now be able to demonstrate the outcome of this first collaboration with Boston IT Solutions (India) Pte Ltd."

The featured server is based on Supermicro's X8DTT-IBQF motherboard featuring Dual Intel 5500 series Xeon quad-/dual-core processors based on the Nehalem chipset with advanced features such as IPMI 2.0 and an integrated Mellanox ConnectX QDR Infiniband 40Gbps Controller with QSFP connector on-board.

Production systems will be available to purchase by mid-2010 with an early access programme commencing in Q1 10. The demonstration can be seen at Supercomputing 2009 on Booth 2355.

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