Back to the Future: IBM’s Liquid-Cooled Mainframe

For the first time since 1995, IBM has begun shipping a water-cooled mainframe, as noted over at ComputerWorld. Big Blue will now offer a version of its huge zEnterprise mainframe, which was introduced in July that uses a water-cooled heat exchanger.

Whenever data center managers debate liquid cooling (and they do), it’s noted that IBM once used water to cool its mainframes, with relatively little resistance from end users. “It’s actually kind of back to the future,” IBM distinguished engineer Jim Porell told Patrick Thibodeau, noting that the water-cooled zEnterprise 196 may help some IT managers “squeeze the last piece of floor space in before they go buy a new data center.”

Liquid cooling has been fairly common in HPC and supercomputing environments, and IBM has been developing new techniques for using water cooling in blade-driven supercomputers. But it apparently has not used water in a mainframe since the ES/9000 family. 

Read more at ComputerWorld. In the meantime, here’s a look at the zEnterprise 196:

IBM employees James Geuke (top) and Larry Terpak (standing) install covers on the new IBM zEnterprise System mainframe. (Photo: Feature Photo Service for IBM)

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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.

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