The ongoing digitization of the world and the growing demand for processing power, particularly for Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning applications, have placed enormous pressure on data centers. They encounter the complex task of balancing efficiency and sustainability in the face of mounting challenges, including rising power consumption, increased environmental scrutiny by governments, regional regulations, and the need for expanded capacity within constrained spaces. In response, data centers are increasingly adopting immersion cooling technology—a cutting-edge solution that has emerged as a transformative option for digital infrastructure leaders seeking to future-proof their data centers.
However, while immersion cooling presents unrivalled benefits and stands as the primary viable solution for modern data center management, IT and Infrastructure teams contemplating its implementation must undertake careful preparations to determine their readiness. Are you ready to embrace this innovative technology? We recommend investing a few minutes to review this simple 3-item checklist that we’ve compiled to help you assess your immersion cooling readiness.
1.Identifying submersible components
The first step in embarking on your immersion cooling journey may appear straightforward but is important: Understanding which components from your IT infrastructure are suitable for submersion. This includes:
- Fabric (Copper, Single Mode Fiber)
- Network Switching
- Solid State Storage and NVMe Drives
- Spinning Media (if sealed, like HDD)
- Power Supplies
2. Understanding immersion cooling techniques: Single phase vs. Two-phase
For the purposes of this checklist, we focus on direct immersion cooling—a solution that directly connects heat-producing components to a cooling liquid. Heat is transferred directly to the liquid through convection. The coolant’s heat can be removed in various ways, including pumping it to a heat exchanger for cooling and recirculation. Alternatively, heat can passively transfer from the liquid to the enclosure, with the enclosure cooling naturally through convection to the surrounding air—a mechanism similar to methods used to cool down power transformers on utility power lines.
When it comes to direct immersion cooling, two techniques stand out: Single-phase and Two-phase.
Single-phase immersion cooling: In this approach, heat is transferred to the coolant via direct contact with server components. The coolant remains in a liquid state and is cooled using a heat exchanger, minimizing the risk of evaporation.
Two-Phase immersion cooling: This technique involves submerging electronic components in a dielectric heat-transfer liquid bath, known for its high heat conductivity.
Choosing the right immersion cooling technique hinges on your specific use case. After thoroughly comparing single-phase versus two-phase immersion cooling, Hypertec decided to focus on single-phase immersion. Our in-depth assessment found that while two-phase immersion cooling primarily offered advantages in terms of power usage effectiveness (PUE) and material compatibility, single-phase immersion cooling satisfied all criteria, including:
- Power usage effectiveness (PUE)
- Minimal fluid loss
- Minimal fluid toxicity
- Fluid biodegradability
- Material compatibility
- Lower cost
- Lower maintenance
3. Selecting the right partner
The third and vital element of your immersion cooling readiness lies in a series of key tasks. These tasks will provide you with a better understanding of your data center environment and help you determine your readiness or identify the necessary steps to get there. These tasks encompass:
Knowing your workload and use case: Immersion cooling is most effective for data-intensive or GPU-intensive workloads, including applications such as crypto-mining, AI and ML, and data science. It’s also well-suited for powering resource-intensive applications like ChatGPT.
Doing the data center math: Calculate the environmental impact, BTU, and assess how many physical nodes can be accommodated within the cooling tank. Single-phase immersion cooling can significantly reduce cooling operational expenses and offer a swift return on investment.
Reviewing your infrastructure: Evaluate if your existing infrastructure can support immersion cooling or if retrofitting is necessary. This step is particularly important for data center managers.
Choosing your partner: Collaborating with the right partner can make a substantial difference. Seek a partner with the experience and expertise to provide comprehensive services, including site assessments and installation planning. They should be able to guide you through your immersion cooling readiness checklist, which is a crucial initial step.
If you are actively considering the future of your data center, you have recognized immersion cooling as the solution. It tackles efficiency and cost challenges, paving the way for long-term sustainability. To delve deeper into this technology and explore current client solutions, we invite you to visit the Immersion Cooling section on the Hypertec website. Additionally, you can download our Data Frontier Special Report available in this section. This report offers an overview of the latest imperatives for data center efficiency.
To date, Hypertec has successfully deployed over 250,000 cores cooled using immersion technology and has been vetted by leaders from various industry sectors in implementing immersion cooling solutions known for delivering optimal energy efficiency and sustainability for high-performance applications.
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