Liquid cooling solutions: Solutions for a highly performing datacenter

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Liquid cooling solutions, an overview

Liquid cooling is approximately 40% more efficient than air cooling alternatives. Water has a much higher specific heat capacity allowing systems to use far less energy transferring the same amount of heat away from thermally sensitive components. 

The great thing is that if you want to improve the performance of your devices these systems can process far more heat energy than alternative air-based systems. Allowing highly performant applications to be delivered with ease while being much quieter. Additionally, liquid cooling solutions normally have an average return on investment (ROI) of 1 year, meaning you are saving money on operational costs over the life of the product.

Future components in performant applications such as data centers and servers will likely start adopting liquid cooling as the default cooling method. This adoption can already be seen in the retail sector and will likely grow in the next few years due to the liquid being potentially 1000x more efficient at removing heat than conventional air-based counterparts. As less airflow is required for heat exchangers, higher performance per square foot is possible.

Using liquid cooling solutions is a pragmatic way to reducing the environmental impact of a business and carbon offset credits required to comply with the latest regulatory requirements. 


Benefits of liquid cooling for server solutions

Many data center cooling solutions are required to maintain the optimal operating conditions for today's data centers' stable and efficient operation.

Water has 1000x the cooling capacity than air, is 25x more thermally conductive and utilizes 10x less energy to dissipate heat energy away from thermally sensitive components.

As technology advances, energy usage also increases along with performance. As such a modern CPU may have a 280-Watt footprint without considering a 500-Watt GPU card. This means that for each computer or server blade you could be dealing with 1KW of energy required to run each tier of the system. Air cooling is realistically no longer an option for data management with liquid cooling solutions providing the only practical approach.

One hurdle a company always needs to get over when investing in superior cooling is the potential for leaking and damage to the data center. The reality is that water-cooled components and heatsink adapters are completely sealed prior to being shipped, pipes used are designed with easy swap connectors that have been used in many industries such as scientific equipment to ensure leaks do not occur and are robust. 

Similar to the retail sector you can now get commercial server solutions designed specifically for liquid cooling and allows you to integrate one of the three technologies below into your data center solution quickly. All without the hassle of fitting custom components yourself or worrying about leaks or a poorly designed cooling solution.


Liquid to Liquid Cooling

This solution utilizes liquid heatsinks that are either mounted in place of air-cooling solutions or integrated into the design by the manufacturer. Liquid is circulated through channels machined into the heatsink and passed to a heat exchanger unit. 

Heat exchanger modules are used to separate the cooling tower from the cooling distribution unit (CDU) reducing the risk of catastrophic failure. Solutions are completely scalable according to requirement and quick to install and easy for administrators to replace server components in a few seconds.


Immersion Cooling 

Components are submerged in a cooling solution, usually based on mineral oil and the hot liquid pumped through a heat exchanger that separates the system from the cooling tower. 

As the system can extract heat from every component and is not dependent on a heatsink mounted to each component these systems are highly performant. However, if parts need replacing then the liquid must be cooled and that particular tank was taken offline for a part replacement. It's typically used in systems that utilize 25kW to 200 kW of power.


Air to Liquid Cooling

The heat from server units is passed by fans over radiator fins where liquid is passed and collects the heat. The hot liquid is then passed to an evaporative cooling tower and recirculated. Alternatively, a refrigerant is used and its phase change is what dissipates the heat from the system. These systems are good when you do not want direct coolant systems on the server components or immersion. Typically used in systems that utilize 12kW to 75 kW of power.

Check out our liquid cooling systems for server solutions here.