Europe drives immersive cooling technologies

Europe drives immersive cooling technologies

Feature articles |
By Nick Flaherty

Submer, Iceotope Technologies and Asperitas are all developing key technologies and relationships to drive imersive cooling technology forward in partnerships with companies such as Intel, HPE, Schneider Electric and Avnet.

With a single 1U AI accelerator using 7 to 9kW of power, a data centre rack can use upwards of 400kW, which can require signficant amounts of energy for cooling. Immersing the boards in a dielectric liquid to remove the heat can dramatically improve the perfomance of a system, both in the data centre and at the edge of the network.

Submer in Barcelona, Spain, last week announced it is working with Intel to set and accelerate industry standards for immersion cooling from the server components to the immersion fluid and platforms. 

The use of immersion is growing but to support adoption at scale standards, frameworks and guidelines around best practices for the use of the technology are key. 

Guidance from a consortium of other key industry leaders will help build a supply chain for scaling the technology to ensure datacentres are equipped to deliver a new generation of sustainable infrastructures.

Intel will focus efforts on an open standard offering that supports scalable datacentre deployments from edge to cloud and work with the industries that will deploy these solutions. Intel has a wealth of experience in building scalable ecosystems through its global partner network and has a history of manufacturing server boards and systems around its chips.

The collaboration aims to co-develop the ‘Precision Immersion Cooling Fluid Cloud’ for use in next-generation data centres using Xeon-based immersion-optimized server boards and Submer’s cooling.

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“By embarking together on a joint mission to reshape the way that the industry currently operates, we’re setting the foundations for server OEM’s and operators to  have a clear roadmap to transform the datacentre industry and achieve a significantly reduced operational footprint,” said Daniel Pope, CEO and Co-founder of Submer, which also works with Arrow Electronics.

Meanwhile Asperitas in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, last week was the first company to achieve a key qualification for liquid cooling from the Open Compute Project (OCP).

OCP is driven by Facebook, with other data centre companies such as Google and Rackspace. Asperitas has been an active member of the consortium since 2018, working on projects such as the Advanced Cooling sub-project.

Next: Asperitas and OCP

The Immersion Requirements Document Revision 1.0 has been developed with several other community members in the workstream such as Intel and Schneider Electric, with Revision 2 moving towards completion in October 2021. 

The AIC24 qualification has been approved for the OCP Marketplace for countries that recognize the CE mark as means of regulatory compliance with relevant standards (EU and others) with other territories to follow, pending UL certification.

“Asperitas is thrilled to be the first immersion cooling vendor to have approval for all 3 levels of requirement (Standard, Thermal Optimization and High safety) flying through the process with unanimous and unconditional approval,” said Andy Young, CTO at Asperitas.

“We aim to use this recognition to enable the market place listing of our integrated IT solutions, which are based on the OCP Accepted Open Cassette and follow the OCP Design Guidelines for Immersion-Cooled IT equipment,” he said. “The fully redundant, fully contained solution complies with Dutch NEN norms, which are among the most restrictive in Europe.”

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Developed by Asperitas, the Open Cassette format can house any IT spec that is compatible with the OCP chassis, as well as different kinds of chassis. The flexible design allows brand-dependent equipment to be used in immersion with optimised liquid flow capabilities. The chassis, which has 15”, 19” and 21” options as well as 1U, 1OU and 2U height options, has been developed for single-phase immersion, but other cooling solutions have not been ruled out.

“The OCP ACS-Immersion Community has been hard at work. They have been able to establish a better understanding of common practices and translate this into a working document – one that all companies can follow as a baseline. Asperitas has taken these guidelines, presented before a panel of peers in the ACS-Immersion Community and clearly demonstrated that they do work, proving their innovative technology to be of high quality,” said Archna Haylock, Chief Community Officer for the Open Compute Project Foundation.

“The fact that Asperitas is the very first to be qualified using these OCP guidelines is a huge testament to their hard work, leadership and those who are now benefiting from this collective effort. This is what OCP should be and this is what companies like Asperitas are accomplishing within it. We are so excited to see this effort go from concept to practice,” she said.

Asperitas will show the integrated AIC24 21in immersion cooling system at the upcoming OCP Global Summit in San Jose, California, in November.

Next: Iceotope and HPE 

Iceotope Technologies in Sheffield, UK, has added an OEM agreement with Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) to its relationship with Lenovo. Iceotope’s liquid-cooled chassis will be used with HPE ProLiant servers in its Ku:l Extreme Data Centre system for data centres and edge network.

Ku:l Extreme is a highly ruggedised single server system for distributing enterprise-grade computing to extreme edge environments.

“Today, IT and data centre managers are being tasked to meet targets for sustainability whilst data gravity creates more complexity as it draws more and more processing and analytics power to the edge, in closer proximity to the point of use. This OEM agreement with HPE provides access to the most efficient and effective solution for maintaining servers in an optimum environment for reliable IT services,” said David Craig, CEO of Iceotope.

The OEM agreement with HPE follows on from the 2019 formation of a strategic alliance between Iceotope, Schneider Electric and Avnet for data centre systems using the Redfish Out-of-Band-Management capabilities and Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure.

“There is a greater need for zero-touch edge computing capabilities to ensure reliability at remote locations when in-person monitoring and maintenance is not always feasible,” said Phil Cutrone, vice president and general manager of Service Providers, OEM and Major Accounts at HPE. “Our latest collaboration with Iceotope Technologies addresses these requirements by integrating Iceotope’s Ku:l Extreme chassis with high-performing HPE ProLiant servers that feature HPE Integrated Lights Out (iLo) for out-of-band communications management. The combined solution enables customers to access high density applications using precision immersion, liquid-cooled racks for instant deployment in any environment, whether it is in on-premises in a data centre or at the edge.”

“The use of precision immersion cooling is inevitable, especially with the explosive requirement for reliable, high performance edge computing.  Through its alliance with Iceotope and Schneider Electric, and an extensive OEM relationship with HPE, Avnet Integrated is uniquely enabled to integrate and deploy, precision-cooled IT racks populated with HPE servers,” said Nicole Enright, President of Avnet Integrated.;;

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