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5 innovative technologies for cooling data centers

June 15, 2020

5 innovative technologies for cooling data centers
It’s no secret that data center markets have been booming, but there’s a sub-market that has been quietly growing as well—data center cooling. Market analysts signal an increased awareness of data center cooling technologies. Some projections have the market generating as much as $2 billion in revenue by 2023.
 
With that much investment and competition, innovation can’t be far behind. Keeping the servers within a data center cool always involves moving hot air out and cool air in, but nowadays it’s not so simple. Let’s look at five innovative ways cooling technology is being pushed forward.
 
#1 - Calibrated vectored cooling (CVC)
This cooling method is meant for server architecture that is very dense and where heat can easily be trapped amongst the hardware. To avoid that outcome, an optimal airflow route is determined from the servers to the cooling equipment. Heat is much easier to handle under this cooling system. It’s also more energy efficient because more circuit boards can be added to each server while using less fans.
 
#2 - Computer room air handler (CRAH)
CRAH systems usually work within a larger system that includes an on-premises chilled water apparatus. Fans pull air from outside the building, which works in conjunction with chilled water flowing inside a cooling coil to keep servers running within optimal temperatures. Because they pull in outside air, CRAH systems work well where the climate is colder all year long.
 
#3 - Direct-to-chip cooling
This method dissipates heat by sending coolant to cold plates that sit on a motherboard’s processors. The heat is funneled to a chilled-water loop, which is then sent on to a chiller plant. This is one of the most effective ways to cool servers because each processor is cooled directly instead of via a heat sync and fan.
 
#4 - Raised floor architecture
Building the data center floor so it rests on top of a facility’s actual foundation creates a useful space between the hardware and the concrete below. Pipes with cooled water can then be placed there or the space can be utilized to boost airflow. It’s also possible to include network cabling or power cabling as well, though most modern configurations place them far above the data center hardware.
 
#5 - Submarine liquid cooling
Liquid cooling technology is becoming quite common in a variety of data center configurations. This includes any system that utilized cooled liquid to remove hot air from servers. However, some companies are taking liquid cooling to the next level. Microsoft is experimenting with deploying entire data center “pods” in the ocean. It’s called Project Natick, and the idea is to create self-sustaining data center units powered by renewable energy that can be deployed quickly. And the best part is they use ocean water to cool the servers, which makes them potentially more energy efficient than land-locked liquid cooled servers. Currently, the project is still in its research phase to make sure it’s economically and environmentally viable.
 
For more information on how innovations in data center cooling can help your customers, talk to Ingram Micro’s data center experts. Contact Samuel Alt at samuel.alt@ingrammicro.com or Nick Vermiglio at nick.vermiglio@ingrammicro.com.