People around the world use cloud services to collaborate, share photos and videos, and handle myriad other tasks in their daily lives. Most know what a cloud service is these days—but not nearly enough people know how the cloud servers we rely on can benefit from liquid immersion cooling.
Immersion cooling is a simple yet extremely effective system for removing heat from servers. It functions exactly as the name implies: by immersing data center servers into cool liquid to decrease temperature and prevent overheating. This technique allows for more processing power and modular growth—while at the same time lowering the economic and ecological costs of data centers.
Cloud data centers stand to gain as much as edge data centers and other server hosts from this groundbreaking advance in cooling technology. Sustainable cooling innovator GRC offers liquid immersion cooling tanks ideal for cloud hosts. The system saves money and increases server density for public cloud, private cloud, and hybrid cloud deployments of all sizes.
The price cloud data centers pay for their electricity is rising as demand skyrockets. Already one of the largest energy consumers in the world, the data center industry markedly increases consumption each year to keep up with society’s growing digital habits. Remarkably, data centers use billions of kilowatt-hours per year—and hyperscalers have literally doubled their energy use in recent years.
As the demand for compute load by cloud data center clients continues to increase, conventional air cooling systems are unable to keep up. Air does not cool efficiently enough—and we are nearing its limits. While processor power and heat emissions increase with no end in sight, the only option is to turn to liquid immersion cooling instead.
Immersion is the result of decades of improvements to cooling efficiency. In fact, modern immersion cooling can handle 368 kilowatts per rack—over ten times what a traditional air-cooled rack can take! The entire liquid cooling setup delivers more cooling while using less electricity than a normal server fan alone.
Processing power has become a limiting factor for many cloud hosts. But immersion cooling actually increases the processing power available to cloud data centers by decreasing electrical power consumption. This enables the processor-intensive services customers have come to expect.
New data centers can future-proof their cloud servers with immersion cooling, which removes constraints on processing power. Even cloud data centers that have already been built with air cooling can take advantage of immersion cooling by transforming themselves into mixed-density sites.
Immersion cooling works in self-sufficient tanks that let you expand operations at your own pace. This contrasts with legacy air cooling, which forces you to make extensive plans and capital expenditures upfront. The modular approach allows you to add as many or as few racks as you need, whenever you need. It’s capacity planning made easy.
GRC cooling tanks are engineered and manufactured to use right away. No complicated, expensive, time-consuming builds—just deployment on an as-needed basis. You can have immersion racks up and running months before a conventional cooling system would be available.
Cloud data centers can use GRC’s ICEraQ to fit as many racks in a small space as necessary to serve their customers. The high power density of each rack lets you build just the right amount of capacity without wasting floor space or other resources.
These ICEraQ modules work in any environment. From a self-contained 24U rack to 4x42U Quads, immersion cooling adapts to different-sized data centers with ease. For example, a cloud host may deploy several ICEraQ Quads before later expanding to meet rising customer demand.
One of the biggest issues in any cloud data center decision is cost. It’s a competitive market, so hosts must consider every penny when making business decisions. Between upfront and maintenance costs, cooling is one of the largest investments a data center can make.
Immersion cooling from GRC offers cloud data centers lower upfront and ongoing costs. By eliminating the extensive air-conditioning equipment and building criteria of conventional cooling, liquid immersion cuts capital expenditures in half. In the same manner, operational costs are cut in half thanks to immersion’s cooling efficiency and easier maintenance.
As a result of lower capital and operating expenses, the total cost of ownership for liquid-cooled cloud data centers is approximately half that of conventionally air-cooled centers.
Hyperscalers—the largest cloud operators—are intently focused on reducing costs. When you’re running thousands and thousands of servers, it’s critical not to overpay for electricity. The wrong cooling system can quite literally cost you millions of dollars. It’s no coincidence that hyperscalers are investing in liquid immersion cooling.
Better for the Environment
Using single-phase immersion cooling, your data center can cut out 95% of its cooling energy use and 50% of total maintenance and energy costs. This also translates into fewer carbon emissions. Making the single-phase immersion upgrade is therefore the most compelling choice you can make for sustainability.
With a liquid cooling approach, cloud data centers can also recycle server heat for other applications. Some cloud operators already reuse their waste heat to grow and sell fresh produce, further offsetting their operational costs. Data centers can also pump the heat from their servers into district heating systems to warm the populations they serve.
GRC considers the environmental implications of its technologies from start to finish. GRC’s immersion cooling methods use an eco-friendly coolant with zero global warming potential. The non-toxic coolant stays within the tank and doesn’t react with other materials. In sum, liquid cooling vastly outperforms conventional cooling in terms of conserving natural resources.
In addition to outperforming air cooling in terms of processing power and eco-friendliness, GRC’s liquid immersion cooling is also engineered with convenience in mind. It offers several features specifically crafted to make operating cloud facilities easier.
With quick installations via rack-mounted service rails and simplified maintenance, this technology improves the lives of technicians. The tanks are designed for quiet operation, and cable management is included within the elegant systems.
Servers fit in the rack to stand waist-high, unlike conventional air-cooled racks. This makes the immersion racks more readily accessible for maintenance staff. Another convenient feature is the cloud-based and local automatic monitoring, which issues remote alerts before problems get out of hand.
Furthermore, GRC’s immersion tanks work with data center infrastructure management (DCIM) and building management system (BMS) software. As such, cloud operators can remotely maintain the tanks alongside other equipment.
The entire immersion rack includes redundant pumps and control systems, and a coolant with enough thermal capacity to prevent downtime—even during a power outage. Operators can further rely on included on-call support from GRC’s immersion cooling experts.
Improve the Cloud With GRC
The cloud is growing at an unprecedented rate, and innovations continue to elevate its capacity for both user experience and profit margin. Cloud servers now stand to gain more processing capacity at a lower cost through liquid immersion cooling.
This game-changing technology alleviates many of the challenges facing cloud companies. Gone are the days of high upfront costs and budget constraints, as you can grow incrementally with the help of modular tanks at half the total cost. As a result, liquid immersion is much faster and more affordable to install than conventional air cooling.
Even more promising is that we now have the solution to building truly green data centers. Liquid immersion uses a mere fraction of the electricity, water, carbon, and other resources that legacy cloud server cooling demands.
Immersion cooling has become downright necessary for the cloud. Bring your operations to the forefront with GRC’s unprecedented immersion cooling technology. Discover silent, environmentally friendly, virtually boundless cooling to serve your customers better than ever. Tell us about your cooling needs, and we'll happily curate a winning solution for you and your data center!