Benefits of Liquid Cooling for HPC

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In this Sponsored Post from CoolIT, we explore the many benefits liquid cooling offers to HPC and data center operators.

For starters, liquid cooling is about 3,500 times better at storing and transferring heat than air. Direct contact liquid cooling (DCLC) uses the exceptional thermal conductivity of liquid to provide dense, concentrated cooling to targeted small surface areas. By using DCLC, the dependence on fans and expensive air conditioning and air handling systems is drastically reduced. Reducing internal heat is essential to avoid temperature-related system damage and downtime.

Traditional data centers and supercomputing sites use chillers and fans to blow huge volumes of air through the tightly packed server racks to reach individual components that demand critical temperature control. This brute force approach winds up consuming an average of 50% of the data center’s entire power allotment. The cost of powering and cooling a data center over its lifetime is comparable to the cost of purchasing an entire HPC system. Not only that, but an HPC data center today draws 10 times the power than it did 10 years ago – this is a trend that will only accelerate.

Liquid Cooling to the Rescue
The answer to putting the brakes on the skyrocketing cost of data center cooling is to leverage the properties of water. DCLC uses the exceptional thermal conductivity of liquid – rather than air – to put the brakes on the skyrocketing cost of data center cooling to provide dense, concentrated cooling to targeted small surface areas.

Why choose liquid cooling?

  • Liquid is controllable – Liquid cooling can be channeled to the specific areas in a server that produce heat. Applying cooling directly to critical components such as processors and memory delivers maximum efficiency, density and performance.
  • Liquid lowers operating costs –Operating expenses are decreased by 25%-30% due to reduced reliance on expensive traditional cooling infrastructure such as chillers, CRAC’s, CRAH’s, and raised-floor environments. Furthermore, the increased power density allowed by warm-water DCLC reduces the data center footprint and all associated costs (building, racks, cabling, etc.)
  • Increased rack utilization – Warm-water DCLC allows for a meaningful improvement in rack utilization. By eliminating traditional air cooling limitations such as hot spots a rack can be used to its capacity.
  • Flexibility – DCLC accommodates a variety of server design, rack architecture and data center environments, making for a pain-free upgrade. DCLC allows data center managers to transition to new liquid cooled solutions in stages – adding units to match the addition of new HPC systems.

Meeting the Challenge
CoolIT’s Rack DCLC™ product platform is a cost effective, scalable and flexible solution that is capable of meeting aggressive compute requirements. Rack DCLC™ supports all of the cooling requirements of the modern, HPC data center.

  • Density – Rack DCLC allows for dramatic increases in server densities.
  • Efficiency – Rack DCLC provides a significant reduction in total data center energy used and allows for meaningful improvement in PUE.
  • Performance – Rack DCLC facilitates the use of many high power processors in less space.

CoolIT Rack DCLCCoolIT’s Rack DCLC solutions are available in two heat exchange configurations. The Rack DCLC CHx™ family of products uses facility water to evacuate heat load from the compute environment in a 100% liquid path. The CHx650 and CHx40 deliver the ultimate package in efficiency, density and performance for today’s HPC data centers. The Rack DCLC AHx™ family of products use a liquid circuit local to a rack to provide peak performance and density in a standard data center without the need for facility water supply. At the heart of both configurations are redundant, centralized pumping assemblies that ensure reliable cooling performance in a flexible design that supports a wide variety of servers.

The bottom line:

  • An 80% increase in rack capacity
  • Increased CPU/GPU density with higher performance per core
  • Over 25% decrease in CAPEX
  • Over 25% decrease in OPEX
  • Enables 40+kW per rack with warm water cooling
  • Reduces or eliminates the need for chillers, CRAC’s, CRAH’s and raise-floor environments

To learn more about liquid cooling visit CoolIT or stop by their booth #411 at the International Supercomputing Conference ISC’14.