Immersion Cooling for HPC and Hyper-scale

Bruce A. Taylor, Conference Chair, . John Major, Principal, Page Kar-Wing Lau, CEO , Allied Control Lane Anderson, Vice President, StructureTone Mission Critical Phil Tuma, Application Development Specialist , 3M Company

Demand for compute as a result of IoT and Cloud dominance is pushing data center design to incredible scales.  The construction of Enterprise and hyper-scale Cloud facilities can be complicated by exorbitant capital costs, suitable development sites, speed-to-market limitations, and in some cases the local water supply.  And as processor power and server rack densities increase, forced air and water cooling technologies are nearing their practical limits.  Can Liquid Immersion Cooling technology be applied to either Webscale or HPC applications?  What are the savings?

Imagining a future state of high-density Webscale data centers, the panel will present and discuss a case study comparing the current state-of-the-art in hyper-scale data center design (through a 30MW facility located in Iowa) with a comparable data center designed for high density Liquid Immersion Cooling. The study evaluates the space requirements, infrastructure topologies, costs and construction schedule for each, supported by detailed engineering and practical evaluation by a cross-discipline project team of industry experts, including Page, Structure Tone, RimRock, Allied Control and Gigabyte.  

Liquid Immersion Cooling involves placing server hardware into an accessible tank of non-conductive fluid coolant, such as 3M Novec.  This study examines two-phase immersion cooling, where IT equipment is immersed in a low boiling point fluid.  As the hardware heats up, it causes the fluid to boil, thus removing heat with high efficiency.  The vapor then rises and condenses on a water-cooled coil.  The streamlined system can deliver 95% cooling energy savings at unparalleled densities.  Large scale projects have achieved 250KW per tank while maintaining a PUE of ~1.01.

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