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A Look at Liquid Cooling Solutions for Data Centers

Your data center is up and running and doing its job. You have zero complaints. Business operations are running smoothly and efficiently. What can possibly go wrong? Have you thought about cooling your data center? This is something you don’t want to forget.

You should have a plan in place and be ready to go when needed. After all, you need your data center operating at maximum efficiency, and this means ensuring it doesn’t overheat. Implementing liquid cooling solutions in data centers is the best strategy, and you’re not limited to one option.

To help better inform you, here’s what you need to know about liquid cooling solutions and why they’re important for your data center.

Importance of Keeping Data Centers Cool

You may enjoy warmer temperatures, but your data center’s infrastructure has other preferences. Data centers prefer cooler temperatures to protect and maintain vital IT equipment. This doesn’t necessarily mean setting the temperature at or below freezing.

Not only is this inefficient, but it’s also ineffective. Just think about your energy usage costs if the temperature is constantly set at freezing temperatures – there goes a significant portion of your operating budget.

Data cooling efficiency refers to the practice of keeping hot air separate from colder air. The infrastructure puts off a lot of heat while it’s running.

When you can do this effectively and consistently without running up costs, you’re on the right track to achieving cooling efficiency. This also involves maintenance and monitoring. In other words, you can’t just set a thermostat and hope for the best results.

Something else to consider is sometimes the solutions you have in place may need a little boost and this is when liquid cooling comes into play. There are a few different types of liquid cooling solutions for data centers, and one may be a better fit than others.

Types of Liquid Cooling Solutions for Data Centers

Okay, when it comes to keeping your data center comfortably cool and the infrastructure happy, you have a few options. Some of the more popular and effective options involve liquid cooling. No, you’re not going to drop cold water around the data center.

Not only is this ill-advised, but it’s also potentially dangerous, and you can end up ruining all of your expensive infrastructure.

Trying to explain this blunder in a budget report isn’t going to go over well with stakeholders. So, let’s take a look at the three types of liquid cooling systems to keep your data center running efficiently.

Liquid-to-Air Cooling

This is the most common solution and often the easiest to deploy. When a data center workload is close to reaching its limits when it comes to air-to-air cooling. This is the practice of separating warm and cool air, you can turn to liquid-to-air cooling.

How it works is pretty simple. When the data systems use air-to-air cooling, the liquid is circulated near the heat sources. The coolant removes heat from the IT infrastructure and shifts it to the radiator.

From there, the radiator performs what’s known as a liquid-to-air heat transfer. Think of it as the coolant removing the heat from the air. Once the heat is removed, the liquid is circulated back to the IT devices. Yep, that’s it. There’s nothing else you need to do.

So, which type of IT devices work best with liquid-to-air cooling solutions? This includes devices with cold plates located on the CPUs, GPUs, and memory. However, it’s also effective at cooling devices with rear door heat exchangers.

This device can move hot air from an entire rack to the radiator system. The radiator is typically located outside of the device.

Liquid-to-Liquid Cooling

If the first solution isn’t the best choice for your data center, what about using a liquid-to-liquid cooling system? This type of liquid cooling solution works similarly to liquid-to-air cooling. The primary difference is it makes use of higher-capacity heat loads.

If your data center has a closed-loop system performing the initial cooling duties, this may be the best solution. If you’re not sure if you have a closed loop system, is it using a secondary liquid system? If so, it’s probably a closed loop.

This means the cooled liquid is pumped into the IT infrastructure while the other system removes heat from the liquid via a cooling tower or radiator. Once the liquid is cooled, it’s pumped back into the primary system.

While the dual liquid systems can seem complex, it’s relatively straightforward. This is a good option for cooling higher-power equipment while also maintaining efficiency.

Direct Immersion Cooling

If you’re considering direct immersion cooling, you should know the process is a little more complicated than liquid-to-air or liquid-to-liquid solutions. With that being said, it’s also highly effective at cooling an entire service.

How it works starts with hardening the electronic components so the server can be dunked into dielectric liquid. Yes, this goes against pretty much everything you’ve ever learned about getting a server near liquid. However, this isn’t a liquid that’ll damage the server.

Instead, the coolant is circulated around the servers and through the heat exchanges. You can use anything from mineral oil to a specialized liquid. Your choice typically depends on your operating budget.

If you have a high-performance system, this may be your best option. Immersion cooling also has other benefits that may make it more appealing.

Along with being extremely effective at cooling servers, it can also reduce your reliance on traditional cooling methods like air conditioning and other types of chillers. You also don’t need to worry about potential electronic issues since the liquid is non-conductive.

Keep Your Data Center Cool Without Any Hassles

Liquid cooling solutions are effective and efficient. You also have a few options to choose from to meet the needs of your data center. Liquid-to-liquid and liquid-to-air solutions are similar and work great for smaller data centers.

If your data center includes large and high-performance components, direct immersion cooling is probably the way to go. Whichever method you choose, you’re helping to ensure the efficiency of your data center.

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