One of the greatest challenges to high compute densities is cooling: at a certain point, air no longer suffices to remove the waste heat that tightly packed equipment produces. Thus, high-density data center deployments, supercomputers and other high-performance-computing (HPC) applications are increasingly turning to liquid cooling. The recent SC13 supercomputing conference saw one particular kind of liquid cooling—immersion—make a strong showing, according to DatacenterDynamics. Immersion cooling involves submerging servers in a nonconducting liquid, avoiding the need to pipe liquid in a rack or even inside a server box or processor enclosure.
Liquid cooling creates certain infrastructure challenges that air avoids, but in cases where high performance is required, the costs may be justified. In addition, since it enables higher densities while maintaining safe operating temperatures, it means that precious resources like data center space can be conserved, forestalling the need to build new facilities to create more space.
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