Immersion Cooling Takes Center Stage at OCP Global Summit

The most forward-thinking minds in open IT ecosystem development converged at the Open Compute Project (OCP) Global Summit in San Jose, California, this October. The theme: “Scaling Innovation Through Collaboration.” 

It’s a fitting theme. Demand for computing power is growing at an exponential rate, as technologies—including artificial intelligence, cloud services and more—gain further ground. Meeting those demands depends on data centers’ ability to supply that power—and continued innovation will no doubt be required to deliver at scale. 

Many Look to the OCP Community to take the lead on blazing a trail toward a sustainable computational infrastructure.“Within the industry, many look to the OCP Community to take the lead on blazing a trail toward a sustainable computational infrastructure,” OCP’s Chief Innovation Officer Cliff Grossner wrote in a blog post preceding the event. So, it’s no surprise that immersion cooling—one of the most promising technologies in server cooling—was a central theme at this year’s Summit.

In his post, Grossner adds that the OCP Community has taken the lead on providing standardizations helping accelerate the adoption of liquid immersion cooling, establishing a strong and active community advancing the development of cooling environments. Numerous events and discussions at the Summit focused on progress and developments for implementing immersion cooling at scale. Project updates, implementation strategies, hardware management, and new opportunities for the technology were all subjects of discussion.

The takeaways are clear: Immersion cooling represents one of the most effective ways for todays and tomorrow’s data centers to meet their full potential. In case you missed it, here’s why:

Why Immersion Cooling?

As computing power grows, so does the need for adequate temperature management. But today, traditional data center cooling methods have struggled to keep pace, requiring a more suitable solution for forward-thinking operators.

It’s here where immersion cooling—in which computer components are submerged in nonconducting, dielectric fluids—has demonstrated major promise as an optimized cooling application for data centers of any size. Immersion cooling is far more effective at thermal management, leading to less equipment throttling, extended IT lifetime by eliminating thermal degradation, and less overall downtime for critical server systems.

Additional operational benefits stem from there. Immersion cooling enables greater power density within data centers, allowing existing servers to deliver greater computing density and meet increasing demand. Further, because it eliminates the need for power hungry air-cooling systems, facilities can divert more kilowatt consumption directly to servers. Finally, Immersion cooling uses less water than other cooling solutions/technologies and eliminates fluorocarbon-based fluids (commonly used in two-phase cooling) that may have unfavorable global warming potential or chemical reactivity profiles.

Not All Cooling Fluids Are Created Equal

Immersion cooling fluids should be designed, engineered and formulated to meet specific needs. For example, copper is prevalent in server systems and is particularly susceptible to corrosion when exposed to oil or water. This makes corrosion performance a critical characteristic, enabled by specific chemistries and corrosion inhibitors.

Fluid durability is another critical characteristic for immersion cooling. At minimum, your fluid should last the life of the server system it is cooling, minimizing the need for periodic change outs, which takes valuable time. 

What’s Next for Immersion Cooling? 

The OCP summit’s focus on immersion cooling is indicative of the technology’s transformative potential. Enthusiasm is only growing and is being driven by forward-thinking data center operators, especially cloud service providers. Some of tech’s biggest leaders have been clear about immersion cooling: “The time is now.”

But for data centers, taking the leap from traditional cooling to immersion cooling can sound a bit daunting. Operators may ask themselves: How will such a change impact my operations? How will immersion cooling impact my maintenance needs? Will the investment in immersion cooling be worth it in the long term?

These are questions that can be answered when working with the right partner for your immersion cooling needs. Indeed, scaling innovation through collaboration is how immersion cooling will make a major impact on the industry’s ability to meet tomorrow’s data needs.

Interested in learning more?

At Lubrizol, we’re ready to help with ourCompuZol™ immersion cooling fluid solutions. Working closely with leading computing companies, our team of fluid engineers can play a critical role in the continued evolution of immersion cooling technology, helping data centers’ hardware meet their full potential. Contact your Lubrizol representative to find out how CompuZol can transform your operations today.  Contact your Lubrizol representative to find out how CompuZol can transform your data center operations today.

Learn more about immersion cooling solutions from Lubrizol

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