Concerns about energy-efficient computing are driving innovation in cooling technologies, as Robert Roe discovers.

Scientific Computing World: October/November 2014

At ISC’14 in Leipzig at the end of June this year, more than 20 companies were demonstrating different variations of cooling technology. It has become a competitive market and manufacturers of cooling technology must innovate to stay relevant. Some have chosen to go down the path of novel technology, whereas others favour the clever, iterative improvement of existing designs.

For Geoff Lyon, CEO and CTO at CoolIT Systems, flexibility is a key focus, due to the diversity of HPC systems. Lyon said: ‘We have a broad range of well-developed products that we can mix and match to create a custom solution for the customer, by utilising the building blocks that we have developed.’

He pointed out that: ‘We have been working, since our inception, on direct-contact liquid cooling. That’s in essence, utilising a micro-channel water block right down onto the source of the heat.’ The company uses a modular rack-based solution, designed to be as flexible as possible, allowing it to be used for any standard racks and with any type of server.

Moreover, as Lyon explained, not only can CoolIT’s solution be adapted to fit the majority of deployments but it can also make use of either hot or cold water. ‘What we have attempted to do is just maximise our efficiency. We minimised the ?T [temperature change] from the cooling liquid to the processor temperature because the processors are often happy all the way up to 70 degrees Celsius or even higher. If we have a small difference between the liquid temperature and processor temperature it allows us the flexibility of using warm water as the cooling fluid. [Read More]