There’s been a revolution in data center cooling, and immersion cooling is at the forefront. In addition to operating at a much higher efficiency level than conventional cooling, this “green cooling” method is extremely environmentally friendly. What’s more, it can also offer businesses a better bottom line.
Immersion technology refers to the process of running servers completely submerged in liquid coolant, which enables the low-cost transport of heat away from these servers. As a result, there’s no further need for legacy air-cooling systems or the inconvenience of raised floors, chillers, wasted floor space, and backup generators. Immersion cooling systems are also easier to maintain. Moreover, their higher cooling capacity is becoming more relevant every year as processor wattages continue to rise.
Liquid immersion cooling methods have grown rapidly in high-density applications such as cryptocurrency and artificial intelligence. Furthermore, this technology is gaining market share in general-use data centers and is on its way to becoming the industry standard. In 2023, we expect to see an inflection point as more organizations realize the advantages of green cooling.
Here, we’ll look at some key points to consider before transitioning to immersion cooling.
What Makes Immersion Cooling Different?
Immersion cooling is a game-changer because it places, or “immerses,” the server directly in a liquid. By contrast, traditional air cooling uses air to disperse heat. Immersion cooling is also different to other liquid cooling technologies that use plates or intermediaries between the liquid and the server.
Note that by immersing a server entirely in liquid, you’re achieving far superior cooling to any other approach. This is because liquid conducts heat over a thousand times more effectively than air. However, methods that put cold plates or other devices between the liquid and the server can interfere with performance, as well as adding to cost, complexity, and risk.
Today, immersion cooling is seen as the future of high-performance computing (HPC), with hundreds of millions of dollars pouring into these systems. Why? As the importance of data to the economy grows, processors will become ever-more powerful; as well as generating even greater volumes of heat. Immersion cooling meets and exceeds the demands of HPC thanks to its virtually unlimited cooling ability.
This is no longer an experimental technology reserved for supercomputers, but a practical solution for data centers of all sizes. To meet this need, GRC has developed high-capacity liquid immersion cooling systems that are easy to install.
Adopting liquid immersion cooling is fast and affordable. That said, there are certain factors worth considering if you want to ensure a smooth transition.
Factors for Successful Immersion Cooling Adoption
What do you need for a successful upgrade to immersion cooling? There are three primary considerations: the specific type of immersion cooling system used, quality and safety standards, and the efficiency of management systems.
Type of Immersion Cooling Technology
There are two main types of immersion cooling technologies; single-phase and two-phase. As their names suggest, the difference lies in the number of phases of matter through which the coolant passes.
In single-phase immersion, the coolant remains liquid. This is the preferred option for businesses. It’s proven itself for over a decade as a reliable, safe, and cost-effective solution. Moreover, it’s the technology of choice at some of the largest data centers on the planet. All of GRC’s immersion cooling systems use single-phase immersion.
With two-phase immersion, the coolant alternates between liquid and gas. This can potentially complicate matters; especially with regard to operations, costs, safety, and even the logistics of acquiring coolant. The two-phase system has had limited uptake by businesses and should be seen as more of a novelty.
In addition to its reliability and affordability, single-phase is currently also the most sustainable cooling solution. It’s already in widespread use cooling servers while simultaneously conserving electricity and water. Single-phase also protects against e-waste, toxic emissions, and lost heat. It’s an all-round winner that’s ideal for the big-data, high-tech future.
Quality and Safety Standards
As with any data center system, it’s important to maintain rigorous standards of quality and safety. Immersion cooling inherently improves the quality of cooling because liquid makes a better coolant than air. It’s also safe, as it removes the need for multiple types of electrical and mechanical equipment and the attendant risks.
To start, liquid immersion uses only a twentieth of the electricity that air cooling requires. As such, you’ll reduce dependence on backup generators, batteries, and diesel; all of which add to safety concerns. The liquid coolant itself has a high flash point and is safe for people and the environment to the extent that you could even drink it!
With GRC, the liquid immersion cooling tanks also operate silently, thus eliminating potential long-term hearing damage from loud air-cooling systems. And because liquid immersion cools servers far more powerfully and evenly, you’re eliminating issues such as overheating and extreme humidity.
The United States Air Force trusts GRC’s safety and quality, to the extent of deploying their cooling tanks at some bases. Their servers have to work under harsh conditions, and failure isn’t an option. After several years, these systems retain 100% uptime.
GRC’s solutions offer various routes for rack number, final heat rejection, and configuration. Any combination delivers consistent high-density cooling and an enviable safety profile.
Adopting liquid immersion cooling isn’t only about the technology, it’s also about how you manage it. Efficient management systems contribute to optimal functionality throughout the lifecycle of the solution.
As data continues to permeate all sectors of the economy, modern computation is making data centers more complex. Just think of the internet of things (IoT) and its massive data volumes. No wonder it’s become a challenge to manage servers and cooling systems.
GRC’s ElectroSafe coolant makes management simple. You don’t have to worry about the liquid coming into contact with electronics, as that’s what it’s designed for. The coolant also doesn’t evaporate, so there’s no issue with refills. And for added confidence, you can use GRC Systems Manager to keep tabs on the tanks.
Immersion cooling also makes capacity planning easy. Because you can add as few or as many racks as you like—with or without a raised floor—GRC’s tanks are totally adaptable. Gone are the months-long estimates that often turn out to be inaccurate. Now it’s feasible to improve your data center’s power, efficiency, and sustainability on a dime.
Upgrade to Immersion Cooling with GRC
Single-phase liquid immersion cooling is, by far, the leading data center technology in 2023. GRC’s genre-defining systems cool more servers at less cost and with lower carbon emissions.
Find out about sustainability metrics and making liquid immersion cooling work for your data center. Then contact GRC to adopt the cooling solution of the future.