Microsoft is beginning to use alternative methods of cooling its servers. She immerses her servers in liquid to improve their performance and energy efficiency. So, a server rack is used in production loads, being immersed in a bathroom with liquid. Although this approach has been used in the industry for several years, Microsoft claims it is “the first cloud service provider to use two-phase immersion cooling in a production environment.”

The equipment is cooled by completely immersing the server racks in a specially designed non-conductive liquid. Fluorocarbon based fluid removes heat from direct contact with components. In this case, the liquid reaches a boiling point at a relatively low temperature (50 degrees Celsius), condenses and falls back into the bath in the form of drops. This creates a closed-loop cooling system, reducing costs as no energy is required to move the fluid through the tank, and no chiller is required for the condenser.

According to Christian Belady, vice president of Microsoft’s Advanced Data Center Development Group, the server rack is actually submerged in a reservoir of liquid. It can be seen, however, that the liquid boils on contact with heat generating components in the equipment.

Most data centers nowadays are equipped with air-cooled systems. They use outside air, which is cooled by evaporation to temperatures below 35 degrees Celsius. This method requires a lot of water. However, the new liquid bath method will reduce water consumption.

“This will potentially eliminate the need for water consumption in data centers, so this is really important to us,” says Beladi.

The new approach provides another benefit. It allows Microsoft to more tightly assemble hardware. This should reduce the amount of space required compared to traditional air cooling. Microsoft is initially testing the new cooling system with a low internal production load, but plans to use it more widely in the future. So far, tests are being carried out with one server rack, but soon it is planned to move to a new stage of testing with the use of several racks.

A source: The verge

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