Mellanox Looks to Icetope for Liquid-cooled Switches

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isotopeToday Iceotope announced that it has developed the first fan-less Mellanox-based InfiniBand and Ethernet high-performance network and interconnect switch for HPC. Combined with Iceotope’s technology, Mellanox’s high-performance, low latency switches can now be cooled with hot water (of up to 45C), enabling chiller-less operation in all climates, with absolutely no airflow, and significant efficiency benefits.

Networking and interconnect switches are a vital part of HPC infrastructure. HPC units typically transmit large amounts of data, with low-performance interconnects often acting as a bottleneck. Switches lower the energy used by more efficiently switching data transmitted, but to date units have always been cooled by air rather than liquid. Iceotope’s liquid cooling technology provides considerable efficiency benefits and, because it can cool electronics with input water temperatures up to 45C, external temperatures are not a factor and these switches can be installed in any climate without the need for chillers.

These liquid-cooled switches represent a huge step towards entirely fan-less HPC,” said Iceotope founder and chief visionary officer, Peter Hopton. “The HPC industry is embracing liquid cooling at a remarkable rate, it’s just a case of technologies being available to match demand. Until now, it was widely accepted that the interconnect switch would never be liquid cooled. It’s great to be able say that, thanks to our work with Mellanox, that’s no longer the case.”

Iceotope’s technology cools all switch components (including any optical modules inserted into the switch) by transferring all the heat directly into liquid. The waste heat is then removed in the form of hot water, which is pumped around the cabinet and can be repurposed for domestic heating. The switches offer Iceotope’s “hot swap clean and dry” user experience, much like a traditional air-cooled server blade, taking up one standard slot on the Iceotope Petagen cabinet (which delivers up to 72 in total). Switches available include 36 Port – FDR 56Gb/s InfiniBand and 40/56Gb Ethernet– with Iceotope looking to support technologies such as EDR 100Gb/s InfiniBand as part of its development pipeline.

Liquid cooling is an extremely exciting proposition in the HPC market,” said Gilad Shainer, vice president of marketing at Mellanox Technologies. “Mellanox is dedicated to providing best of breed products and solutions for HPC and we are pleased to collaborate with Iceotope to further data centre efficiency with high quality liquid cooled alternatives to air.”

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