Dell Explores Liquid Cooling for Servers

What’s going on in data center innovation at Dell (DELL)? John Halamka, the CIO at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, recently visited Dell’s Round Rock, Texas headquarters for a data center tour and executive briefing. John shares a summary of the experience on his Life As A Healthcare CIO blog (link via the CIO Weblog).

It’s an interesting writeup. The Beth Israel team got a tour of one of Dell’s Tier III data centers, which runs “lights out” (only a data center manager and security guards). They also got a briefing from a representative from Dell’s office of the CTO, who discussed future approaches to cooling:

They are now exploring liquid cooling. They had experimented with liquid cooling the individual processors. The speaker did not see this as having a practical data center application due to the risks of a burst line. The direction he sees is the development of a cold plate or cover. In this technique, chilled water is run through the upper or lower cover like a radiator and provides cooling to the entire case.

Dell is also planning to design components that can be powered down when not in use (down to the subsystem level) and is planning on using hot aisle containment in its company data center. Read John’s blog for more.

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About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor at large of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.