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February 14, 2024

Why Hyperscalers Need Immersion Cooling

The race for greater sustainability and efficiency is on

Why hyperscalers need immersion cooling

As disruptors and continuous innovators, looking for new solutions to complex challenges is in hyperscalers’ DNA. Today, that means providing the power and density to drive the digital age (AI, anyone?), while maximizing resource use and minimizing impact on the environment. We’ll dive into the reasons why hyperscalers need immersion cooling.

The viability of data centers quite simply depends on it.

The Hyperscaler Landscape at the Moment

That data centers are massive consumers of energy won’t come as a surprise to anyone in the industry – or anyone anywhere for that matter.

In the US, data centers account for around 2% of total electricity consumption. In Europe, just a bit less—around the 1.4% to 1.6% mark. And, on average, cooling consumes around 40% of overall data center energy use. So there’s significant pressure for these sprawling, resource-intensive infrastructures to get more green.

Governments and legislators are setting the tone. The US Department of Energy (DOE) is investing $40 million in projects to address the issue of cooling. And, according to the revised Energy Efficiency Directive in Europe, datacenters with a capacity of 500 kilowatts or more will need to report detailed energy performance statistics for 2023 by May 2024.

Immersion Cooling in a Nutshell

Deploying immersion cooling technology is the best and fastest way for data centres to increase capacity, use less power and water, and reduce costs. The process involves cooling IT equipment (up to entire servers) in thermally conductive and dielectric liquid. It’s a cut above other liquid cooling solutions like direct-to-chip because it captures all heat across all components (including increasingly hot DIMMs and GPUs). Plus, it’s easier to then reuse the captured heat. And it’s more environmentally friendly and cost-effective than throwing millions of gallons of water at the problem.

At Submer, we power green data centers with our single-phase immersion cooling approach. The details are here, but the top-level takeaway is it’s better than two-phase when it comes to efficiency, maintenance, and safety. This means improved density, savings in multiple areas of operation, and meaningful sustainability.

3 Reasons why Hyperscalers should meet immersion cooling

1. Embracing Densification

Density has a big effect on hyperscalers’ innovation power and energy efficiency. Chips are increasing in capacity every day. Both AMD and Nvidia expect thermal design power (TDP) of their next generation chips to top 1000 watts. At this temperature, air cooling and traditional liquid cooling methods will struggle to cope. Air cooling, for example, tops out at 400 watts.

Not only that, thermal output is set to further increase with the ubiquitous adoption of AI. The substantial compute resources and continuous operation characterizing this technology – all of which increase heat – highlight the need for a change of approach. Advanced workloads require advanced cooling solutions.

This is where Submer solutions really show their advantage.

Immersion cooling–ready servers boost the kilowatt per square meter going beyond 1,000 watts per chip —so hyperscalers can get more from their existing data centre operations. They can also set up and scale new facilities faster, which means gaining competitive advantage in meeting evolving demands, like edge computing to support big data workloads.

2. Transforming TCO

Hyperscale infrastructures come with hyperscale costs. So, tackling total cost of ownership (TCO) is mission-critical to secure data center roadmaps into the long term.

Immersion cooling addresses one of the most pressing hyperscale challenges: efficient use of resources. Not just the natural stuff like water, but hardware, energy, and buildings – essentially, all the major elements that make datacenters work.

Easier maintenance, faster deployment, and smarter use of space, water, and electricity make immersion cooling more effective than competing technologies and give it the most compelling TCO.

But it’s more than that. Evolution in cooling technology requires a connected and collaborative ecosystem – of chip developers, server OEMs, MEP providers, distributors, and of course hyperscalers themselves. Since its inception, Submer has worked hard to develop this connected community – working with Intel, Asus, Gigabyte, Supermicro, Hypertec, 2Crsi, and many others.

Today, having developed the market’s most complete immersion cooling ecosystem, Submer can provide a true end-to-end service – simplifying adoption and providing through life support for a cooling solution that adapts to evolving workloads.

3. Putting the Substance in Sustainability

Cooling accounts for 45% of all IT greenhouse gas emissions. Millions of gallons of water are wasted every day in data centers. And around 98% of all energy consumed in data centers is rejected back into the air. By any measure, this all adds up to a major environmental challenge. With the world on a path to net zero, boardrooms are setting sustainability goals to ensure compliance with fast evolving regulation.

Hyperscaler reputations, not to mention the future of the planet, are on the line. Making operations greener is an immediate strategic imperative.

Immersion cooling helps hyperscalers become more sustainable in three key ways. It reduces both direct (cooling, facilities, humidification) and indirect (energy, water treatment) water consumption. It cuts the energy consumption of IT equipment and cooling systems. And it supports circularity by, for example, extending hardware lifespans and presenting the opportunity to reuse captured heat.

End-to-end, a more sustainable blueprint for the data centre of today, and tomorrow.

Submer Has the Solution

Submer’s approach is the disruptive element the industry needs. Not just to tick a few sustainability boxes, but to create intelligent, future-proofed infrastructures for the good of everyone.

If you’re ready to get immersion cool or simply curious about what the switch to a liquid cooling solution looks like, our experts are at hand to answer any questions you may have.