CeBIT 2012: Iceotope Claims Huge Data Centre Savings With Liquid Cooling
Using liquid instead of air can cut cooling by 97 percent, Iceotope believes
Iceotope is claiming dramatic energy savings for data centres with its new liquid cooling system for servers.
Techweek Europe first reported on the Guernsey-based company and its technology back in November 2009. Its system essentially cools hot-running servers by immersing them in liquid coolant solution (3M’s Novec).
Now three years later the company, with a changed management structure, has officially launched its cooling solution at CeBIT, which it said aims to tackle the energy costs and environmental footprint associated with data centre cooling.
Iceotope claims to be able to reduce data centre cooling costs by a staggering 97 percent, as well as providing another potential benefit by harnessing the heat output for other purposes.
“This innovative approach to tackling energy costs and environmental footprints, combines industry standard ICT with next generation liquid cooling to deliver 24/7 free cooling for ICT, anywhere on the planet,” said the company.
“This results in saving 97 percent of the energy cost of cooling and more than 75 percent of the mechanical costs,” it added.
That claim about the energy savings is a pretty bold statement, but Iceotope feels that its unique liquid cooling system can deliver this because all electronics are encapsulated in a sealed unit containing 3M’s dielectric coolant Novec as the inert coolant.
Iceotope says this concept reduces the power consumed at a server level by eliminating the need for any fans.
Novec rapidly convects the heat away from the electronics, and then transfers it to a sealed low pressure gravity fed subsystem. The heat can then be passively cooled or repurposed to centrally heat or provide hot water to other buildings, facilities or office spaces.
“Novec’s safe, sustainable chemistry provides an excellent balance between performance, safety and the environment,” said Adrian Hyner, sales manager at 3M. He pointed out that by using an inert chemical coolant as opposed to potentially flammable solutions as used in alternative liquid cooling platforms, data centre owners can improve safety while making a dramatic overall reduction in electricity costs.
And it seems that the concept of liquid cooling has gained backing among academia, with Jon Summers, senior lecturer and researcher at the institute of thermofluids at Leeds University, who has apparently has been instrumental in the research into Iceotope’s new system.
“It is time that efforts were focused on the efficiency of internal cooling of information systems in data centres,” said Summers. “Using air is an easy engineering option, but certainly not efficient. Therefore the liquid encapsulation of the electronics in the Iceotope system offers an elegant engineering solution with a definite efficiency gain.”
Iceotope’s idea is to make the liquid-cooled blades fit into conventional racks, but each one is made into sealed container. The coolant (Novec) is circulated in each blade individually, through nozzles at the back.
The advantage of this Iceotope solution is that it can be installed in conventional server rooms and data centres, as the extra coolant circulation system is located up the back of each rack, alongside power and network cables.
“Researchers predict that the world’s data centres will consume 19 percent more energy in the next 12 months than they have in the past year,” said Peter Hopton, founder and CTO of Iceotope.
“In order to try to combat this increase in power consumption, we need to start looking to technology that will help to not only reduce environmental footprint, but also help reduce the costs associated with power and cooling in data centre and HPC environments,” said Hopton.
“Through our research with Leeds University and 3M, we’re excited about the impact our solution will have on data centre design and location, and we’re looking forward to demonstrating the new product at this year’s CeBIT.”
Prices for Iceotope liquid cooled cabinets are £19,995 ($31,500), which includes hot swap redundant pump/heat exchangers and six Iceotope module centres ready to house a total of 48 modules.
Server modules start from a list price of £3,995 ($6,300), for a fully configured server with Two 6 Core Xeon ‘Romley’ E5 Processors, 64GB RAM, 40Gb Infiniband and high endurance SSD Storage.