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IT Hardware for Immersion Cooling

How Electronics and Liquid can Safely Coexist

May 30, 2019

2019: The Future of Liquid Cooling is Now

In 2018, analysts and experts predicted that in 2019, liquid cooling would finally go mainstream.

It has been observed that, Moore’s Law (according to which the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit doubles about every two years) is slowing down and that, sooner or later, we will get to its inevitable demise. Alex Carrol, Managing Member at Lifeline Data Centers, has recently said:

“When the average per rack power density is greater than 7 kW per rack, the space utilization goes down to almost 50%. This is because almost 50% of the space is then needed by power and cooling equipment alone, and only 50% of the space can be utilized by the actual IT equipment.”

All these observations make a case for Immersion Cooling as the most efficient cleantech  guaranteeing unprecedented IT Hardware densities compared to air cooling (Submer’s solution allows to achieve >100kW per rack footprint while saving 99% of cooling costs).

We are now almost entering the second half of 2019, and we have seen more and more cases that would confirm this tendency (from Google to Facebook).

Nevertheless, there is still a certain resistance by some of the most traditional companies in accepting a technology that, even though was invented some decades ago, only now is slowly becoming accepted as what it is: a major, disruptive solution that will change datacenter operations and design.

Submer’s blog and webinars are meant also for this: to educate about Immersion Cooling and datacenter and HPC world, to dispel doubts and fears (sometimes irrational, sometimes legitimate) around liquid cooling.

IT Hardware submerged in a SmartPod

Liquid Phobia

Would you feel comfortable in knowing that your precious, expensive IT equipment (the price of a datacenter server can vary hugely, depending on many factors. It can go from a couple thousand dollars up to a couple of dozen thousand dollars) is placed side by side to a liquid or, even worse, submerged into a tank? Not at all, hm? And your fear would be absolutely legitimate (at least in a normal scenario, with water instead of a dielectric fluid as a cooling agent). In fact, one of the most asked questions around Immersion Cooling is about how electronics can safely work when submerged into a liquid.

This, let’s call it, “liquid phobia” is just one of the reasons why liquid cooling has encountered so far many difficulties in becoming an accepted cooling method, in spite of its high efficiency and obvious benefits (for your business and also for the environment).

Coolant is not Water

The magic behind Immersion Cooling is pretty simple: the fluid used in Immersion Cooling is NOT water, rather a dielectric synthetic (or mineral or vegetal) coolant that helps to dissipate the heat produced by the IT Hardware while protecting it from potential harmful factors (dust or particles coming from outside, mechanical stress due to vibrations).

Heat map showing the dissipation of the heat in a SmartPod


Another benefit of Immersion Cooling directly linked to the heat dissipation property of the fluid is the increase of the IT Hardware lifespan and, at the same time, the reduction of IT Hardware failure (thanks to the absence of moving parts, dust particles, vibration and to a lesser thermal and mechanical stress due to the uniformity provided by the fluid and its viscosity).

Submer is changing how datacenters are being built from the ground up, to be as efficient as possible and to have little or positive impact on the environment around them (reducing their footprint, reducing their consumption of precious resources such as water). The same philosophy applies to the SmartCoolant we use in our Immersion Cooling solutions, since it is a non-toxic, completely biodegradable synthetic fluid, non-hazardous for people or the environment.

Preparing your IT Hardware for Immersion Cooling

So, are you ready to adopt Immersion Cooling in your datacenter? Not yet? Don’t worry!

In Submer’s second webinar, Daniel Pope (CEO of Submer) and Alain Wilmouth (CEO of 2CRSI) went through a series of design considerations regarding IT Hardware for Immersion Cooling you might find useful if you are considering to switch to Immersion Cooling.

2CRSI is just one of the OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) producing IT Hardware specifically designed for Immersion Cooling. Nevertheless, Immersion Cooling is a technology that stands out for being pretty easy when it comes to adapt your “off-the-shelf” servers for submerging them. In our YouTube Channel, you can find a video showing how easy is to retrofit an air-cooled server and prepare it for Immersion Cooling.

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