Data centers have long faced the challenge of implementing a more economical, yet higher-performing cooling system. As consumer demand for companies to reduce their carbon footprint is at an all-time high, that system must now also be environmentally conscious. Water consumption, e-waste, greenhouse gases, carbon footprints, and sustainability have all become central concerns of the data center industry. Promisingly enough, a concept known as immersion cooling offers the most efficient way to reduce water waste and other environmental tolls – while enhancing performance and reducing costs!
In the US alone, data centers use well over a billion liters of water per day. Not the American people, not huge corporations, data centers. Even more jarringly, over half of that water is potable despite it only being used for things like cooling. Older cooling technologies waste huge amounts of this water, while immersion cooling minimizes waste and more.
Data centers need to remove the excess heat produced by increasingly powerful processors. Cooling equipment can singlehandedly account for a substantial portion of the facility’s water, as well as nearly half its electricity. With these resources at risk, it’s imperative for data centers to utilize forward-thinking solutions immediately.
Immersion Cooling vs “Water Cooling”: Are They The Same?
Though both immersion and water cooling are types of liquid cooling systems (as opposed to the traditional air approach), they fundamentally differ in their mechanisms and resource use. Above all else, immersion cooling reigns far supreme in water waste reduction efforts.
With immersion cooling, as the name implies, you surround the entire computer system in a liquid (not water! Dunking a server in water would fry it; immersion cooling uses a safe dielectric fluid). Contrastingly, water cooling involves piping water through additional tubing to cool the servers. This technique endangers the technology and requires substantial volumes of water.
Liquid immersion cooling systems – like GRC’s – enable high-performance computing operations without wasting water, overheating servers, or losing profit to electricity bills. Immersion cooling also takes less real estate and produces less noise, making this a win-win solution. GRC’s immersion tanks take all of these benefits a step further, effectively slashing cooling energy use by 95%! Their smart design allows technicians to install and service their hardware easily. A healthier planet and bottom line sounds like a no-brainer to us.
Immersion Cooling: The Answer To The Question of Sustainability
As a massive user of water and electricity and a producer of toxic emissions, data centers must work to become greener. Several different avenues have already begun merging to steer data centers towards a solution. Sustainable energy sources, like hydro and solar, join sustainable on-premise equipment to do more for less. Immersion cooling lies at the intersection of these strategies to drastically decrease energy and water use, emissions, and e-waste.
How does immersion cooling accomplish all of this? It uses a liquid that’s more than a thousand times more effective than traditional data center air cooling. This eliminates much of the resource demand. Additionally, data centers draw far less power from the grid and require less of their electrical infrastructure for cooling. The servers no longer need fans, further decreasing electricity use.
By minimizing the loss of heat, electricity, real estate, money, and water, immersion effectively poses a near-perfect answer to the question of data center sustainability.
The Challenges of Immersion Cooling
While immersion cooling is an incredible technology already revolutionizing the data center landscape, it has encountered challenges. Certain environmental, technical, and even legal considerations affect where it can be deployed.
While immersion cooling offers substantial TCO savings, it does require a financial investment from the data center. As a new technology, many people remain apprehensive about its capabilities.
Additionally, data centers that have relatively modest needs may not reap as many benefits from taking the plunge. Immersion cooling offers more bang for the buck in data centers that require excessive power, space, water, and other resources. Thus it may pose a challenge for smaller data centers to justify the switch. It is, however, worth noting that, regardless of size, all data centers can save resources with this technology.
Additional challenges facing immersion cooling include ensuring the compatibility and safety of materials in the tanks. The designers at GRC have directly addressed these challenges and produced a system that is safe for humans and the environment.
Among the design challenges, the central issue is engineering the system to transfer heat from the servers to the liquid. There are single-phase and two-phase systems, and GRC’s single-phase system decreases the complexity and costs while increasing reliability and limiting the risks of global warming. Fortunately, the difficulties in implementing liquid immersion cooling have now become manageable.
The Future of Immersion Cooling
The undeniable upsides of immersion cooling pose the question: how will this technology evolve in the coming years?
We should expect to see immersion cooling become far more widespread. Environmental sustainability efforts are pressuring hyperscalers to go green, and liquid immersion helps data centers fulfill these commitments.
Computer processors, including specialized devices for high-performance computing, are becoming dramatically more power-hungry. Immersion cooling feeds these processors to keep our world spinning.
Through the work of GRC, immersion cooling has become a commercially viable technology. Now data centers are rapidly upgrading to reap the financial, technical, and environmental benefits. The growing awareness of water as a sensitive resource will push even more organizations to take the plunge to reap these benefits, too.
Liquid immersion cooling has fast become a key data center upgrade, as more businesses learn about this remarkable new technology. It’s come along just as customers and governments are pressuring the industry to clean up its act (and the earth!).
Wasting immense quantities of water that could better serve humanity elsewhere – as well as burning excessive fossil fuels – is no longer acceptable. Thankfully, immersion cooling rectifies the water waste crisis in data centers. It even incidentally saves money and space while reducing noise and simplifying maintenance!
If all of these advantages entice you to transition your data center to a liquid immersion cooling system, separate yourself from your competitors with GRC. You’ll see lower TCO, and your servers will run faster and last longer. Save, well, everything by going with the smartest cooling system on the market. Go green with GRC today!