Data center giant Digital Realty is set to introduce a new bare metal infrastructure service that features liquid cooling, designed in partnership with Singapore startup CoolestDC.
Initially, the service will be available at Digital Loyang 1 (SIN11) facility in northeast Singapore, before being rolled out “in other Digital Realty data centers.”
“We believe liquid cooling has the potential to make an important contribution in reducing total power consumption and CO2 emissions,” said Mark Smith, managing director for APAC at Digital Realty.
The company tested the liquid cooling setup for six months in a project funded by Temasek Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Singapore sovereign fund Temasek Holdings.
It reported that servers using CoolestDC’s direct-to-chip liquid cooling technology saw a reduction in power consumption of up to 29 percent, compared to conventional air-cooled servers. This would equate to a single rack with a power density of 25 kW saving up to $25,000 a year in electricity costs.
Play it cool
CoolestDC is a spin-off of the National University of Singapore (NUS) – its founder, Dr Poh Seng Lee, is the associate professor of Thermal Systems at the university’s Department of Mechanical Engineering.
The startup specializes in liquid cooling and custom cold plates that cater for the tight space constraints of servers. It used the proprietary ‘oblique fin’ cold plate design to develop a closed-loop liquid cooling system that can be easily embedded in existing air-cooled data centers.
CoolestDC said that, in addition to being more efficient, direct-to chip cooling systems help avoid thermal throttling, which can affect server performance at full rack capacity.
“Liquid cooling is an overlooked technology that can give enterprises and data center operators in the tropics a sustainability boost while substantially reducing energy consumption by 20 to 30 percent and water usage by up to 50 percent,” Dr Lee said.
“We are delighted to partner with an industry leader like Digital Realty in our joint mission to reduce power consumption, emissions and help drive sustainable data center growth.”
Of course, CoolestDC is not the first company to experiment with direct-to-chip cooling for servers: this approach is now fairly common for supercomputers, and similar systems for individual server racks are available from American startup Chilldyne and Britain’s Iceotope, to name a few.