Is liquid cooling right for your datacenter?

Liquid cooling of the CPU has been proven by gamers to be an effective way to increase performance. Can datacenter operators save money with similar technology?

There are a number of popular methods for controlling temperature in your datacenters, with a focus on maintaining the optimum operating environment for your datacenter hardware. The next generation of liquid cooling, as announced today by Asetek, starts by focusing on cooling the CPU and GPU within each individual server (blade, component, etc.).

Asetek feels that their more granular approach to cooling provides an enhanced level of flexibility to datacenter operators, allowing them the option of using the highest performance systems in the densest possible configurations without having a significant impact on the overall cooling model of the datacenter.

Asetek starts with their Internal Liquid Loop cooling technology. Much in the way that gamers have been eking out the best possible performance from their computers by using a liquid cooling system to keep the temperatures down on their CPUs and GPUs, this solution applies similar technology that can be used in rack mount and dense -packed datacenter servers.

Their Rack CDU solution applies the direct liquid cooling to all of the processing units in the rack, using an all liquid cooling path to reduce that the datacenter CRACs have to deal with, resulting in reduced overall cooling costs or the ability to use denser racks with the current level of datacenter cooling capacity.

Their top-end solution combines a fully liquid cooled server with their rack CDU solution and a connection to the facility water supply.  In this configuration, no heat from the servers is released into the datacenter, allowing for more energy efficiency in the datacenter cooling model.

The Asetek solutions are not inexpensive, designed to deliver payback on a one-year amortization against the saving in energy expense. With hardware costs being only a small percentage compared to the OPEX of a datacenter, it seems like this solution should gain significant traction in high-density, high-performance environments where the energy savings would be most quickly realized.  Of course, the first the datacenter operator has to get past the thought of running tap water through their very expensive hardware...