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November 1, 2015

Data center effects on climate change

green data center immersion cooling submer

This is one of the most serious topics we’re going to talk about and one of the main reasons the Submer Team have put their heads together to substantially help reduce data center CO2 emissions.

The Uptime Institute states in their 2014 Data Center Industry Survey that average self-reported PUE‘s for 2014 stand at 1.7. For sure self-reported means that only data centers that are happy with their PUE have actually reported and other studies clearly indicate that most probably, most of the data centers around the globe are still way over the PUE 2.0 mark. This means that for each 1kW of IT load, another 1kW is needed just to make make it run (basically to keep it cool).

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October 14, 2015

Data center cooling methods

In this post we’re going to cover some of the most common cooling solutions for data centers and also some new trends. Over the years, data centers have seen substantial changes in how server room cooling was managed. Years back (say 15-20 years back), nobody really cared how much power was consumed to actually cool a server room. Its just something that had to be done and the cooler the better. Then all of a sudden somebody started talking about PUE’s (Power Usage Effectiveness) and they discovered that most of the data centers had PUE’s of 2.5 or even 3. Crazy times…!

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September 25, 2015

What is Immersion Cooling?

immersion cooling example

Also known as liquid submersion cooling, it is the practice of submerging computer components (or full servers) in a thermally, but not electrically, conductive liquid (dielectric coolant). Liquid submersion is a routine method of cooling large power distribution components such as transformers. Still rarely used for the cooling of IT hardware, this method is slowly becoming popular with innovative Data Centers the world over. IT Hardware or servers cooled in this manner don’t require fans and the heat exchange between the warm coolant and cool water circuit usually occurs through a heat exchanger (i.e. heater core or radiator). Some extreme density supercomputers such as the Cray-2 and Cray T90 use large liquid-to-chilled liquid heat exchangers for heat removal.

The liquid used must have sufficiently low electrical conductivity not to interfere with the normal operation of the computer. If the liquid is somewhat electrically conductive, it may be necessary to insulate certain parts of components susceptible to electromagnetic interference, such as the CPU. For these reasons, it is preferred that the liquid be dielectric.

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September 10, 2015

Moving to “Phase 1”: Full Size Functional Prototype


Now that we’ve completed “Phase 0” and feel confident with the coolant and its behaviour, its time to move on to “Phase 1”.

What is “Phase 1”?

“Phase 1” is planned to be a full size (50U) functional prototype. It should:

  • Have a 50U capacity and be able to dissipate 25kW of heat
  • Be fully redundant
  • Allow us to adjust and measure all its components (heat sensors, flow meters, pump speeds…etc.)
  • Include software control of its components and a touchscreen display for admin management
  • Deploy with its own highly-efficient adiabatic cooling tower
  • Install in a carrier-class data center
  • Have a practical form factor for data center colocation and day-to-day operation
  • All its components will be high-quality EU designed and buil

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August 26, 2015

Submer at YCombinator Fellowship

Submer is a start-up with a start-up mentality, so we though, why not apply to a Y Combinator Fellowship batch and see how it goes? and so we did!

Unfortunately we didn’t manage to hit the jackpot, but out of 6500 applications the Submer solution was in the top 100. We actually got interviewed by the YC Leadership Team from Mountain View. For us this has already been a success and goes to show how interesting the project is.

Here’s the very valuable feedback was provided during our interview with the YC Team:
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August 16, 2015

Submer Immersion Cooling Phase 0 Prototype

Submer Immersion Cooling Prototype

We’ve finally completed assembly and testing of our first low-cost Prototype, codename “Phase 0”. The purpose of the prototype is to test the behaviour of the Submer bio-friendly coolant with a real 1U server at different temperatures and CPU loads. The prototype is composed of:

  • Custom methacrylate casing for 1U server
  • DELL R200 test server
  • Coolant Pump
  • Water Pump
  • Heat Exchanger
  • Flow meter (in coolant circuit)
  • Multiple temperature sensors
  • Electric water chiller
  • Different bits and pieces
  • Single-phase dielectric bio-friendly coolant

We’re only focusing on modifying the server load, water circuit and coolant circuit temperatures to see the behaviour of the server and its CPU values. There’s no focus on PUE (Power Usage Effectiveness) as its very difficult to achieve reasonable measurements with such a minimal setup.

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August 1, 2015

Submer, The New Data Center Cooling Solution

Welcome to the Submer Blog! This is our first post. In our Blog we’ll be exposing the status or our project and general Immersion Cooling posts.

To start with we’d like to explain where the Submer idea comes from, where the project stands and a short intro to the Team behind it.

Our background is data center operations and design. We’ve owned and operated our own mid-sized data center in the past for more than 10 years and coped with all the craziness of day-to-day operations. When last year the Team sat down to brainstorm on what they would change if the data center adventure where to start again, one of the major topics was “How to better cool the servers?”. This is where the idea of an Immersion Cooling solution was born.

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