Immersion Cooling: A Breakthrough for Data Centers

Modern data centers house extremely complex and advanced technology—and ensuring that it all works safely and reliably without numerous potential problems arising is crucial for data center managers. And as the data centers evolve—increasing in computing density, incorporating more powerful and sophisticated equipment—the specific challenges facing data center managers change fundamentally. Strategies must continually adapt to deal with new risks.

Among those challenges are proper environmental management and cooling at increasingly powerful facilities. Keeping temperatures and humidity at optimal levels is critical to getting the most from servers. As workloads in these new facilities increase exponentially, the heat is on—and managers need effective thermal management methods to combat high temperatures and scale their operations.

Enter a game changer for effective data center thermal management: immersion cooling, where computer components are submerged in nonconducting, dielectric fluids. This technology has demonstrated major promise as an optimized cooling application for data centers of any size. Keep reading to find out why.

The Limitations of Air Cooling for Data Centers

Many of the critical cloud-based services that we use every day rely on optimized uptime at major data center facilities, where hundreds of petabytes worth of computing take place every day.

One of the most important lines of defense against downtime is effective cooling systems. Cooling failures represent one of the most common causes of data center outages. This means managing the heat generated through increased workloads and data processing capability, especially as energy management is a critical element of data center design and use.

But conventional air-cooling methods increasingly struggle to efficiently handle greater power densities and the resulting heat. Indirect (cold plate) cooling systems offer advantages, but they also cost more and rely on water, a limited resource. In fact, recent reports suggest that next-generation processing units will maintain a thermal design power (TDP) of 400 watts—more than three times that of today’s common systems and virtually impossible to cool with just air cooling. It means that superior cooling technology will be required to enable tomorrow’s data centers.

Next-generation processing units will have a thermal design power more than three times that of today's systems.

Immersion Cooling: A Game Changer for Data Centers

The answer may be immersion cooling. Data Center Knowledge reports that enthusiasm for liquid cooling is being driven by forward-thinking data center operators, especially cloud service providers. Revenue for the liquid cooling market may top $3 billion by 2026, with a 50.4% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2021 to 2026. 

Liquid cooling market revenue may top $3 billion by 2026, with a 50.4% compound annual growth rate from 2021 to 2026.

The reasons for such interest are clear: Immersion cooling has the potential to deliver numerous benefits, including:

Thermal Performance Icon
Better thermal performance. Less equipment throttling or downtime is experienced in systems with effective thermal management fluids.
Power Density Icon
Enhanced power density. Immersion cooling enables data centers to house and maintain server infrastructure to deliver more computing density and meet increased demand.
Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) Icon
Greater power usage effectiveness. Immersion cooling eliminates the need for power-hungry air-cooling systems, allowing facilities to divert more kilowatt consumption directly to hardware.

Only 46% of data center managers say that their current cooling solution meets all their requirements.

But it’s not just a matter of effective cooling systems. Data Center Knowledge further notes that in a recent survey, only 46% of responding data center managers say that their current cooling solution meets all of their requirements. “Based on conversations with data center leaders and analysis of cooling capacity versus cooling load,” the piece states, “problems with cooling effectiveness are often the result of poor cooling resource management rather than a lack of cooling capacity.” 

Indeed, implementing optimal environmental control in the data centers of tomorrow isn’t just about the right technology—it’s also about obtaining the right service and technical support from a trusted supplier.

Interested in learning more about advanced cooling for data centers?

CompuZol™ immersion fluid solution by Lubrizol is designed as a tailored solution to meet the specific cooling needs of any data center. From conception to installation to ongoing maintenance and fluid management services, our team of fluid engineers can play a critical role in helping you continue to scale and get more computing power from your IT infrastructure. 

Drawing on our longstanding role as a global fluid leader, Lubrizol is not only uniquely positioned to develop next-generation immersion fluids but can also inform stakeholders of best practices for fluid management up and down the value chain. Contact your Lubrizol representative to find out how CompuZol can transform your operations today.

Learn more about immersion cooling solutions from Lubrizol