Asetek has signed a $3.5 million direct-to-chip liquid cooling deal with the California Energy Commission for two large-scale supercomputing data centers.
The 24-month project starts July, with a report from the CEC to follow 12 months after. It will include installation of Asetek's RackCDU solution across 90 racks. Direct-to-chip liquid cooling will support servers from multiple suppliers. Monitoring equipment will also be installed to track energy and cost savings.
Denmark-based Asetek retrofits a server motherboard with small pipes that bring coolant to the CPUs. This is one of the approaches of direct-to-chip cooling. Others include submerging motherboards in tubs of dielectric oil or sealing server chassis and flooding it with coolant.
Asetek recently reached a settlement agreement in a patent infringement lawsuit with CoolIT Systems, another liquid cooling vendor.
There has been renewed interest in liquid cooling recently, as several vendors have been predicting sky-high power densities in data centers. Densities have not risen nearly as quickly as expected, however. Air cooling has seen major advances in efficiency, while liquid cooling has remained largely favored in niche computing needs. The CEC supercomputer deal is a prime example.
Still, it's too early to rule out a rise of direct liquid cooling in data centers in the future, as modern analytics engines need to crunch through more and more data almost instantaneously.
The CEC study will make energy and cost savings data from the deployment publicly available.
“This project is evidence of Asetek’s momentum in the data center and supercomputing segments and further validates the value of Asetek’s direct-to-chip liquid cooling for high performance and high utilization data centers,” said André Sloth Eriksen, founder and CEO of Asetek, in a release.
Funding for the project will be provided through California’s Electric Program Investment Charge (EPIC) Program, managed by the CEC.