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BT to trial European liquid cooling technologies

BT to trial European liquid cooling technologies

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty



The BT Group in the UK is trialling several liquid cooling technologies from European suppliers that could substantially improve energy consumption in its networks and IT infrastructure.

The BT group is using Juniper’s Network QFX Series switches, which are widely used in existing network cloud architectures, with Iceotope liquid cooling. A replica using an HP x86 server has showed how the power consumption used to cool a network switch typically deployed in a data centre could be significantly reduced.

BT’s data centres are currently cooled using air-based systems but as network capacity and demands increase, it expects next generation IT and network hardware to be hotter and so drive up the energy consumption and operational cost of cooling.

  • The Precision Liquid Cooled networking servers and data centre equipment trial uses the Iceotope and Juniper equipment.
  • Another trial will see full immersion of networking servers in an immersion tank, with Immersion4 of Switzerland.
  • A trial of liquid-cooled cold plates of networking equipment in a cooling enclosure will use equipment from Nexalus in Ireland.
  • Systems from Airsys in Warrington, UK, will see cooling using sprayed-on partial immersion of data centre equipment.

BT expects that several different cooling solutions could eventually be deployed, depending on specific location and operational requirements. The trials will aim to establish which solutions are optimal for each scenario, and the extent of potential energy savings.

Typically, these techniques bring several benefits including a 40-50% reduction in power needed to cool systems vs. air cooling and higher equipment density, saving on real estate footprint. The exhaust heat can also be reused to heat other parts of a building.

“As the UK’s largest provider of fixed-line broadband and mobile services in the UK, it isn’t a surprise that over 90% of our overall energy consumption – and nearly 95% of our electricity – comes from our networks. In a world of advancing technology and growing data demands, it’s critical that we continue to innovate for energy efficiency solutions. Liquid cooling for network and IT infrastructure is one part of a much bigger jigsaw but is an area we’re very excited to explore with our technology partners,” said Maria Cuevas, Networks Research Director, BT Group.

www.iceotope.com; www.bt.com; www.immersion4.com/; www.air-sys.uk; www.nexalus.com

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