Liquid-based server cooler claims running cost savings

UK technology start-up Iceotope has launched a liquid-based server cooling system that it’s claimed is the first to use modular ‘liquid immersion’ of computer components, rather than methods which rely on air conditioning and chiller units to hold down temperatures in data centres and computer rooms.

The Iceotope approach applies an inert synthetic coolant directly at component level by immersing each server in a ‘bath’ of coolant within a sealed compartment that creates a pliable cooling module. Multiple cooling modules can be mounted in standard 19-inch server racks.

The chassis supplies modules with electrical power, and with a connection to a local water circuit which pumps water through channels in the connected modules to remove heat from the closely-coupled (but sealed) motherboard compartment. The positioning means that each module is, in effect, a tightly integrated coolant-to-water heat exchanger, says Iceotope. The chassis has a further water-to-water heat exchanger that transfers heat to a building-level water circuit (new or existing).

The main selling-point of Iceotope product is reduced cooling power costs, says Iceotope CEO Dan Chester: “In a data centre in which all servers are cooled this way, the cooling costs can be reduced by as much as 93 per cent,” he reckons. However, it is designed primarily for new server build-outs and supercomputer installations, rather than retro-fitting to existing installations.

Chester adds that an advantage of liquid immersion over alternative forms of component-level liquid cooling is that the heat from power supplies, sold-state disks, RAM, and other processors can also be transferred: “Less than 50 per cent of the heat produced by a server may come from the [central] processors,” he says.

The Iceotope system is now undergoing prototype and compliance testing, which will conclude toward the end of Q1/2010.
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