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Nov 28 2016

FUJITSU FORUM Recap: Save Energy and Costs with FUJITSU Liquid Immersion Cooling!


From the original Cool-safe® Advanced Thermal Design (ATD) to last year's Cool-Central® Liquid Cooling Technology (LCT), sophisticated cooling mechanisms have a long and successful tradition at Fujitsu. At our Forum this year (November 16 and 17 at the ICM Munich), we showed a prototype for Liquid Immersion Cooling – the next stage in pairing the latest and most efficient method to cut electricity bills with denser system packaging to save floor space.

Cooling down servers and data centers so that they remain operative even under adverse conditions has always been tricky – any seasoned CIO or admin will agree with that statement in a heartbeat. Consequently, they've applied numerous methods and sleights to keep temperatures at a reasonable level. Some of these methods worked quite well, others not so much. But even the best ones shared one limiting trait: whether a method is applicable or not and produces the desired results largely depends on the environment a data center is situated in. Fujitsu's new Liquid Immersion Cooling technology solves that problem, and a few others on top of it. But how does it work, and in what way does it differ from other, more regular cooling concepts?

The answer is simple. The efficiency of standard methods is dependent on the thermal absorption capacity of air, which varies depending on humidity and is therefore hard to control. Liquid cooling isn't subject to such limitations and therefore offers higher efficiency and reliability. To achieve these, the server is put into a "bath" – that is, a sealed tank filled with a liquid coolant – so that the heat dissipates within the fluid, which circulates in a closed loop where it is cooled and then brought back again for further use (see picture at the top). The coolant itself is an electrically insulated, fluorinated liquid that flows through a pipe system to a heat exchanger to facilitate the cooling process. The heat exchanger for its part uses general-purpose, outdoor air-conditioning units (fans, chillers etc.) if necessary for cooling the water that runs through a second pipe system and literally "takes the heat" off of the tank-side pipe system.

As noted above, the main benefit of Liquid Immersion Cooling is that it works in any environment; so it doesn't matter which atmospheric conditions server systems (or data centers) are exposed to. Liquid Immersion Cooling can deal with heat, humidity, drought, dust, pollution, and even the salt that regularly penetrates data centers in coastal regions. Plus, there are multiple welcome side effects:

  • Higher density, lower space requirements: thanks to the high cooling efficiency of Liquid Immersion Cooling, customers can put up to 32 server nodes with 64 CPUs into one single cooling tank, and stack another tank filled with identical equipment on top of it. This helps to keep the all-over 'IT footprint' at a minimum as well as to dispose of air-conditioning equipment that was previously used for the newly liquid-cooled systems. Altogether, this means customers can save up to 50% on data center space.
  • Less power consumption: Liquid Immersion Cooling ensures that server systems constantly operate at 'lower-than-usual' temperatures and thus drastically reduce the number of current leaks that occasionally occur in any data center. At the same time, they eliminate the need for extra-large and overly complicated air-conditioning systems that draw loads of energy from the grid. All in all, this helps customers to cut power consumption and electricity bills by up to 40%.
  • Reduced failure rates: Since processors, memory modules and other components work at lower temperature levels, the risk of overheating and subsequent server malfunctions is kept to a minimum, if not virtually excluded. In other words, servers that use Liquid Immersion Cooling will turn out to be more productive than regular air-cooled systems.

To learn more, please check out our short video below!


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