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Data Storage IT

Cooling Bags Could Cut Server Cooling Costs By 93% 135

Posted by timothy
from the or-other-exact-number dept.
judgecorp writes "UK company Iceotope has launched liquid-cooling technology which it says surpasses what can be done with water or air-cooling and can cut data centre cooling costs by up to 93 percent. Announced at Supercomputing 2009 in Portland, Oregon, the 'modular Liquid-Immersion Cooled Server' technology wraps each server in a cool-bag-like device, which cools components inside a server, rather than cooling the whole data centre, or even a traditional 'hot aisle.' Earlier this year, IBM predicted that in ten years all data centre servers might be water-cooled." Adds reader 1sockchuck, "The Hot Aisle has additional photos and diagrams of the new system."
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Cooling Bags Could Cut Server Cooling Costs By 93%

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  • Ugh. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Pojut (1027544) on Tuesday November 17, 2009 @12:16PM (#30130006) Homepage

    For some reason, the filters at work won't let me view the article. Does it happen to mention how much the upfront cost for these bags are?

  • A few questions (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Reason58 (775044) on Tuesday November 17, 2009 @12:23PM (#30130094)
    Won't this cause accessibility issues for the administrators who have to support these servers? Additionally, Google's evidence supports the idea that warmer temperatures are better for the life of some components, such as hard drives. Last, this may work well for traditional servers, but I fail to see how this can be made to support a large SAN array or something similar.
  • Re:Quick Release (Score:3, Interesting)

    by FooAtWFU (699187) on Tuesday November 17, 2009 @12:50PM (#30130450) Homepage
    If you have enough space for a spare rack, and you have a sufficiently virtualized infrastructure, you could just swap in the spare and do rack-at-a-time maintenance. If you're really saving 93% on cooling that could be worth it. (Maybe leave your SAN boxes and other less-failable components on an old air-cooled setup.)
  • by wandazulu (265281) on Tuesday November 17, 2009 @12:55PM (#30130512)

    The ES/9000 that I had contact with was a series of cabinets that were all water-cooled from the outside in...it was a maze of copper pipes all around the edges and back and looked like a fridge. When you opened a cabinet, you could feel a blast of cold air hit you.

    It was no trivial feat to do this, they had to install a separate water tank, some generators (I remember one of the operations guys pointing to a Detroit Diesel generator outside in the alley and saying it was just for the computer's water system), moved a bathroom (only water they wanted around the computer was the special chilled stuff), and I can distinctly remember seeing the manuals(!)... 3-inch thick binders with the IBM logo on them, and all they were for was the planning and maintenance of the water system.

    No wonder it took almost a year to install the machine.

  • weight? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Clover_Kicker (20761) <clover_kicker@yahoo.com> on Tuesday November 17, 2009 @01:07PM (#30130676)

    How much does a rack full of water-cooled blades weigh?

    Never thought I'd see the UPS become the lightest thing in the server room.

  • by Locutus (9039) on Tuesday November 17, 2009 @01:17PM (#30130796)
    The technique of using cheaper off-peak energy to freeze liquid and then use that liquid for daytime cooling loads is already used in a very few places. Combine that technique with the direct server cooling mentioned in the article and....wait a minute....they are already claiming a 93% cooling cost cut? Either their is huge waste now or they're already expecting to use off-peak energy. But then again, maybe the remaining 7% is still large enough to merit further savings.

    Direct cooling makes far more sense than cooling rooms like I keep seeing around now.

    LoB
  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday November 17, 2009 @01:29PM (#30130966) Journal
    Their demo, at least, seems to be aimed at blades, so the inability to just slap any old motherboard into the system would not be a significant change.

    As for water blocks, I suspect that all the various minor chips in the system would be problematic. Even if your cooling of the CPU, or even the top 3-5 chips, by thermal output, is perfect, there are loads of other components that will heat up and die without airflow. CPU voltage regulators, northbridge, RAM, RAID controllers, ethernet, etc. You can't waterblock them all(at least without a serious redesign that makes using commodity components impossible, or a plumbing scheme that would make Escher wince). Either you go with a hybrid waterblock/conventional air cooling system; which gives you the vices of both; or you have to go with the fluid bath as in this setup.
  • Re:Cray-2 (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jcaren (862362) on Tuesday November 17, 2009 @01:33PM (#30131004)

    The crays full immersion coolant model hit a big problem - the coanda effect.

    This is where layer of fluid near the actual component flows much slower than actual flow - in layers slowing down exponentially as it gets closer to the stationary components.

    For air this is not too much of a problem - only a very fine layer of stationary air over compenents that does not affect cooling. But with liquids the effect is both noticable and severely impacts coolant flow over hot surfaces - with some then "next gen" cray chips actually boiling the fluid. As todays chips run much hotter and generate a lot more heat than those Cray chips I can see this being a major problem today...

    Crays fix for this was to move from full fluid immersion to immersion in droplets 'injected' using a car fuel injector.
    This got everywhere and evaporated taking the heat away from components.

    Rumor has it that during devlopment, engineers bought fuel injectors for a wide range of cars and the ones for certain porsche worked best so they bought the entire stock of fuel injectors for this car in the mid-west and used them...

    I remember staff at cray giving away Porsche style sunglasses with Cray written on them instead of Porsche and when I enquired why - the above was the tale I was told by sales staff.

    Whether true or not is something else - the cray sales staff in those days had a seriously odd sense of humor...

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