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Is Schneider Electric, Avnet and Iceotope’s integrated liquid-cooled rack a watershed moment for the data centre?

Written by Mon 9 Dec 2019

Companies unveil industry’s first integrated rack with immersed liquid cooling

Schneider Electric, Avnet and Iceotope have unveiled the first product of the liquid-cooling partnership the companies announced in October.

At Gartner’s IT Infrastructure, Operations & Cloud Strategies Conference in Las Vegas, the trio debuted the data centre industry’s first integrated rack with immersed liquid cooling.

Avnet’s role is to integrate a GPU server with Iceotope’s immersion cooling tech into a Schneider NetShelter liquid-cooled enclosure.

Liquid cooling

All signs point to liquid cooling flooding the data centre over the next few years as the GPUs powering analytics and machine learning applications grow in density and heat. Some accelerators have thermal design power ratings exceeding 400 watts. In these scenarios, traditional air-cooling methods become more costly and less efficient than liquid cooling.

Compared to conventional direct-to-chip liquid cooling systems, Iceotope’s chassis-level immersion cooling, which partially submerges servers in a special dielectric fluid, removes the need for air conditioning, industrial fans or pumps.

The new all-in-one solution makes the technology far more accessible and practical than before. Schneider Electric, Avnet and Iceotope are even marketing the rack for edge deployments.

“Schneider Electric is committed to making data centres more sustainable and liquid cooling is a very compelling approach,” said Kevin Brown, CTO and SVP of Innovation, Secure Power at Schneider Electric.

“This latest development marks a significant step toward industrialising chassis-based immersion solutions which offer the efficiency and effectiveness of tanks based solutions while providing the compatibility and serviceability of more traditional, ‘direct-to-chip’ liquid-cooling designs. Given the growth of compute-intensive applications, we believe this approach is very promising.”

According to Schneider’s own tests, a chassis-level immersion-cooled solution produces capex savings of 15 percent and energy savings of at least 10 percent versus a traditional air-cooled solution, leading to a 20-year TCO saving of over 11 percent.

“Iceotope is thrilled to be making its innovative chassis-level, immersive liquid cooling technology available to the general market,” said David Craig, CEO of Iceotope.

“Our approach is more efficient, more reliable, saves more space, eliminates fans, and when deployed across the data centre, it lowers cost,” he added.

Speaking on the future of their partnership, Avnet, Iceotope, and Schneider Electric said they plan to expand the offering as demand grows and are encouraging other server OEMs to join up.

Written by Mon 9 Dec 2019


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