Data center liquid-cooling to gain momentum

Concern over escalating energy costs is among reasons liquid-cooling solutions could gain traction in the data center.

Schneider Electric, a major energy-management specialist, this month announced refreshed impetus to a collaboration conceived in 2014 with liquid-cooling specialist Iceotope. Now, technology solutions company Avnet has been brought into that collaboration.

The three companies will develop chassis-level immersive liquid cooling for data centers, Schneider Electric says in a press release. Liquid-cooling systems submerge server components in a dielectric fluid as opposed to air-cooled systems which create ambient cooled air.

One reason for the shift: “Compute-intensive applications like AI and IoT are driving the need for better chip performance,” Kevin Brown, CTO and SVP of Innovation, Secure Power, Schneider Electric, is quoted as saying.

“Liquid Cooling [is] more efficient and less costly for power-dense applications,” the company explains. That’s in part because the use of Graphical Processing Units (GPUs) is replacing some traditional processing, and is gaining ground. GPUs are better suited to data-mining-type applications than traditional processors. They parallel-process and are now used extensively in artificial intelligence compute environments and processor-hungry analytics churning big data.

“This makes traditional data-center air-cooled architectures impractical, or costly and less efficient than liquid-cooled approaches.” Reasons liquid-cooling may become a new go-to cooling solution is also related to “space constraints, water usage restrictions and harsh IT environments,” Schneider said in a white paper earlier this year:

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