Enabling High-Performance Computing with Direct Liquid Cooling

Background

The search for better ways to cool data centers is ongoing, and Involta was one of the first to see the potential of DataSox™, a customizable, porous/diffuse fabric ventilation system. We’ve used DataSox to cool our data centers efficiently since 2017, and we’re always evaluating additional cooling strategies. The latest research suggests that liquid cooling, when paired with air cooling strategies, improves power usage effectiveness (PUE) and energy consumption in high-density data centers. We’re excited to be at the forefront of the industry, working with Dell Technologies to implement direct liquid cooling (DLC).

 

Direct Liquid Cooling Basics

DLC uses liquid coolant to manage IT rack temperatures. The process decreases the demand for air cooling by absorbing much of the heat generated by IT equipment via convection. The heated liquid solution is then pumped through a heat exchanger to be cooled before recirculating the liquid back to the stacks. Specialists from NVIDIA and Vertiv studied the impact of liquid cooling and found significant reductions in total power consumption. The hybrid approach the team tested works, and we’re excited to be implementing DLC infrastructure in our Akron, OH, data center.

Outcome Summary

  • Involta continues to push the leading edge of data center cooling technology with the implementation of Direct Liquid Cooling (DLC).
  • For large clients, computing environments continue to grow exponentially, requiring ever-increasing amounts of power and computing capacity. Investing in DLC infrastructure ensured we could continue to meet this client’s growing needs and supply additional Involta data center tenants with access to this new cooling technology.
  • With DLC infrastructure in place, Involta is positioned to manage equipment temperatures more efficiently, which will ultimately enable tech to operate at a higher capacity.

The Challenges

Clients’ exponentially growing compute environments

One of our large clients’ compute environments continues to grow exponentially, requiring ever-increasing amounts of power and computing capacity. Meeting this client’s processing demands to run large, complex workloads requires high-performance computing (HPC) and extremely efficient data center processing. Involta data centers are designed to meet extremely high power demands, but more power means equipment will generate more heat and require more effective cooling strategies.

Air-cooling systems at maximum cooling capacity

While our air-cooling systems adhere to ASHRAE® environment guidelines and are already energy efficient, they have reached their maximum cooling capacity. We knew our client needed us to do more. Investing in DLC infrastructure ensured we could continue to meet this client’s growing needs and supply additional Involta data center tenants with access to this new cooling technology.

Involta's Solution

Investment in exterior infrastructure

Implementing DLC infrastructure is an investment, and it doesn’t happen overnight. Involta’s Akron team worked hard over several months to prepare the data center for DLC powered by Dell. Exterior work began with extensive site preparation to create adequate protected space for a new chiller yard. After excavation and foundation work, we poured new concrete slabs to house both chiller units and the enclosure. Galvanized steel tube structural posts and solid panels resist both wind and weather, protecting the chillers from the range of elements Ohio climates experience throughout the year.

New UPS and HPC Systems

Inside the data center, we’ve energized our electrical room with new UPS systems that will allow for increased power demands. UPS also protects equipment from damage in the event of power failure. Additionally, we installed HPC power modules to improve processing capabilities and capacity.

New Piping Network

We’ve also installed a new piping loop that connects the data hall, mechanical room, heat exchanger/cooling distribution unit (CDU) and exterior chiller unit. This piping network is critical to liquid cooling systems as it transports the liquid through various stages of the DLC process.

With all of this new infrastructure in place, Involta is positioned to manage equipment temperatures more efficiently, which will ultimately enable tech to operate at a higher capacity.

Forward-Looking Benefits of DLC

Support growing business demands and improve efficiencies

DLC supports growing business demands and allows Involta clients to operate more efficiently. And while DLC enables HPC, it requires a significant amount of power. Involta data centers are already strongly positioned in terms of capacity, and we will be tracking our PUE and energy consumption closely to manage critical loads effectively and ensure our facilities remain highly efficient.

We’re pleased to be partnering with Dell on DLC. Dell DLC solutions cool the central processing unit (CPU) with warm liquid, which has much greater (~4x) heat capacity versus air. The system is more efficient at extracting heat, thereby reducing the burden on server systems and cooling infrastructure while improving sustainability and reducing costs significantly.

Focusing on innovations to meet the evolving world of technology

The world of technology is evolving rapidly, with new strategies and innovations around every corner. Involta will continue to be at the forefront with innovations like DLC to enable our clients to transform their worlds with technology—it’s non–negotiable as we hold to our brand promise of Superior Infrastructure and Services, Operational Excellence and People Who Deliver.

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