Schneider Electric unveils the first chassis-based immersive cooling server rack

The liquid-cooled solution promises lower operating costs, better efficiency, quiet operation, increased reliability and a smaller economic footprint.

Schneider Electric: US’s first industrial smart plant opens in Lexington, KY
TechRepublic visited Schneider Electric to learn how the first American smart factory uses automation to improve operational efficiency.

At the Gartner IT Infrastructure, Operations and Cloud Strategies Conference, Schneider Electric announced a partnership with Avnet and Iceotope that he believes will result in the first commercially available integrated server rack with chassis-based immersive liquid cooling.

The new system will be able to work with lower costs, increased efficiency, better reliability and more economical, says Kevin Brown, senior vice president and CTO of the secure energy division of Schneider Electric.

Using Iceotope’s liquid cooling technology and a powerful GPU, Avnet is helping to integrate the liquid-cooled server with Schneider Electric’s NetShelter liquid-cooled enclosure system for deployment in data centers or edge computing environments, Brown said.

SEE: Special report: a guide for data center automation (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

“We are trying to bring a new way of liquid cooling to the market and we are taking advantage of a longer-term opportunity to reduce energy consumption in data centers and create a much more resilient advantage,” said Brown.

Why liquid cooling?

“Liquid cooling has been around for a long time; it is not a new technology,” Brown said. “Our interest in this has started to rise in the last 18 months to two years because there is a trend with GPUs and CPUs, where the amount of power they use increases.”

“For years, Intel CPUs used only about 150 watts,” he said. “If you look at the latest chips, whether it’s the GPUs or the latest CPUs from Intel, they use more than 300 to 400 watts. That’s a challenge for air cooling.”

Because air cooling cannot keep up with the high-compute processing that companies carry out, liquid cooling is the most effective option, Brown noted.

There are two primary forms of liquid cooling: Direct-to-chip and fully submerged.

With direct-to-chip, “you would take a pipe with water and you walk it to the chip, you run it out, and it just runs through a small heat exchanger. With fully submerged, you take the servers and put them in a large tank of oil, such as mineral oil, “said Brown.

Both tactics, however, have their own risks. With the direct-to-chip cooling, organizations run the risk of water leaking into IT. To prevent this, many companies integrate a leak prevention system, but they are expensive and use a lot of energy.

This strategy also does not always absorb all the heat from the servers, which requires additional fans and airflow, according to Brown.

The main disadvantages of oil-based immersive cooling are the mess. An oil bath is extremely messy and introduces flammability concerns, he added.

How does the chassis-based immersive cooling rack differ?

Image: Schneider Electric

With the chassis-based immersive cooling system, Schneider Electric hopes to merge the positive aspects of both direct-to-chip and tub immersive strategies, while eliminating the disadvantages.

By bringing the standard rack form factor directly to the chip, but extensive heat capture from the tub, organizations are getting a cost-effective, high-efficiency, reliable, fan-free cooling system, according to Brown.

“What we do is try to take some of the convenience that direct-to-chip brings with some of the performance you can get from immersion solutions,” Brown said.

“That’s why we call it rack-based immersive. It’s a bit different than just immersive, but it’s all the advantages of immersive with ease and the footprint of a direct-to-chip. And nobody has done a rack-based solution in it past. ”

The advantage of this system is that the company is not forced to have a room with large tubs filled with oil. Instead, companies receive a standard-looking IT rack that they can place in their data centers.

The immersive cooling technology works neatly in the rack, said Steven Carlini, vice president of innovation and data center of the secure energy department at Schneider Electric.

The system is useful for every company in every industry that runs intensive, intensive applications, Brown said, such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and big data analysis.

Image: Schneider Electric

“The most important thing you see is an AI application, especially AI learning applications. They use the most power, and the more power the servers use, the more heat they emit,” Carlini said.

“You also see things like blockchain, where they are very, very computationally intensive. All the computationally intensive applications that require these graphics processor units, these Nvidia chips and this next generation of Intel chips are really what drives it,” Carlini said

“So you see a lot more data being created because of IOT and certain applications and you see the need to execute all of these, process them with GPUs. So all those applications that are very processor intensive really provide for the need for liquid cooling.

Schneider photographs for availability in Q1 of 2020, with availability for selected customers in selected regions. However, Brown should have broad availability within the next 12 months.

For more information, see Schneider Electric: First US industrial smart plant opens in Lexington, KY on TechRepublic.

Big Data Insights newsletter

Master the basic principles of big data analysis by following these tips from experts and reading insights about innovations in data science.
Delivered on Mondays

Register today

Also see

Image: Schneider Electric

Follow AsumeTech on

More From Category

More Stories Today

Leave a Reply