Smaller Footprint, More Power: How Immersion Cooling Unlocks Greater Potential

Building a new data center is a significant investment, and one that comes with several growing challenges for planners to overcome. Consider:

Immersion Cooling Enables Greater Power
  • Data centers are power and resource hungry facilities, requiring a lot of electricity and water for basic operation.
  • As demand for data centers grows, municipal planners are increasing their focus on balancing resources and siting requirements with the interests of their communities.
  • Data center facilities can make significant noise, whether it be cooling fan systems or backup generators, which can become be a nuisance if they are close to a residential area as well as a potential safety hazard for workers.

But as demand for cloud computing and other data-intensive web services continues to skyrocket, data center managers will need to forge ahead—and continue to maximize server infrastructure that is already in place. It’s worth asking the question: Are there ways to optimize the computing power of my current infrastructure that I haven’t investigated?

If you need to maximize available real estate at your data center without heavy capital expansion, immersion cooling technologies—in which server components are submerged in dielectric fluids—may be a compelling answer. Immersion cooling helps to enable far greater density of processing capabilities by removing cooling hardware components such as fans, enabling you to gain greater power in a smaller footprint. Here’s a look at how immersion cooling can help you eke out more computing power from your existing infrastructure: 

Getting More from Your Servers

Forward-thinking data center managers are already in on immersion cooling, especially when it comes to cloud computing. Data Center Knowledge reports that revenue for the liquid cooling market may top $3 billion by 2026.

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

This is in part because 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. 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.

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

But it’s not just a matter of overcoming limitations. Immersion cooling brings a number of benefits to the table on its own, including:

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Better thermal performance. Less equipment throttling or downtime is experienced in systems with effective thermal management fluids. For smaller or midsized data centers where localized downtime can have an outsized impact, this can be a major benefit.
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Greater power usage effectiveness (PUE). Immersion cooling eliminates the need for power hungry air-cooling systems, allowing facilities to divert more kilowatt consumption directly to hardware. This can be a game-changer for data centers looking to do more with their existing infrastructure.
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Extended equipment life. Immersion cooling systems can also extend IT equipment’s lifetime compared to air and indirect-cooling systems by reducing server design complexity (e.g., no integrated fans required) and reducing operating temperatures to prevent thermal degradation of server components.
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Better use of floor space. Finally, converting to immersion cooling can allow you to take greater advantage of the real estate taken up by conventional cooling machinery. With the right strategy, this may allow you to design more server infrastructure into an existing space.
Server Immersed in Liquid
Immersion cooling fluids must be formulated to meet the specific needs of protecting and cooling IT infrastructure.

Not All Fluids Are Created Equal

Early generation immersion cooling fluids were sourced straight from the refinery, designed for different applications and industries and repurposed for use in data centers. While this approach enabled early access to immersion-capable fluids, these options are not sufficient to maximize equipment lifetime and performance or to meet the more demanding thermal requirements of next-generation equipment.

The truth is that immersion cooling fluids should be designed, engineered and formulated to meet the specific needs of the application. For example, copper is very prevalent in server systems and is particularly susceptible to corrosion when exposed to oil or water. This means that corrosion performance is a critical characteristic, enabled by specific chemistries and corrosion inhibitors that imbue the fluid with the ability to stop corrosion before it hampers a server system.

Elsewhere, fluid durability is a critical characteristic for immersion cooling. Ideally, your fluid should last the life of the server system it is cooling, reducing the need for periodic change outs, which take up time and maintenance. This performance characteristic works both ways, too—as power demands increase, next-generation fluids should be able to help extend the useful life expectancy of the hardware.

While some available immersion cooling options are “one-size-fits-all,” there’s no need to settle when you work with the right supplier. Your immersion cooling partner should be able to tailor your fluid, offering balanced properties and better material compatibility to meet the unique needs of data center facilities and their equipment.

Interested in learning more?

CompuZol™ immersion cooling fluid solutions from Lubrizol can be a true solution to maximizing the computing output of your existing server infrastructure without additional major capital investment. Working collaboratively with you to identify your specific needs, we can deliver a complete solution along with ongoing support to overcome the cooling challenges in your facility. Contact your Lubrizol representative to find out how CompuZol can transform your operations today.

Learn more about immersion cooling solutions from Lubrizol