ServeTheHome's Patrick Kennedy recently took time out of his busy schedule to build and demo an innovative passive liquid cooling system that Gigabyte and CoolIT are developing. Unlike typical servers used across datacenters around the world that rely on high-speed fans to cool their systems, Gigabyte and CoolIT are building a passive cooling loops (PCLs) that offer a significant advantage to current cooling methods.
Liquid-based cooling isn't a new concept. Many home enthusiasts have built gaming or workstation rigs that include a typical "all-in-one" liquid-cooling system. Microsoft recently tested a mobile datacenter placed at the bottom of the ocean, and several companies prior to this have experimented with immersion cooling where servers are dipped in liquid to keep cool.
However, Passive Cooling Loops offer two distinct advantages. First, the power savings generated by reducing the number of fans needed to cool systems across the datacenter will have the potential for increasing overall density. In Patrick's estimation, CoolIT's 80kW cooling units allow up to 16kW of savings with typical 2U servers comprised of four fans. That would allow companies to add another rack or two to their environment for the same cost.
Energy savings also come in the form of a reduction in HVAC cooling required to keep the datacenter at nominal temperatures. Datacenters can use these savings to build larger (or taller!) while maintaining the same amount of cooling. Such efficiencies have the potential for keeping costs down as more powerful systems are deployed across the datacenter.
Passive Cooling Loops have another advantage in that they require less liquid to use than other methods. In the case of CoolIT's platform, a single garden hose worth of water flow can sustain up to 80kW of cooling. That's extremely efficient compared to previously mentioned methods.
It will be exciting to see the next evolution of datacenter cooling technology that will provide better efficiencies in space, power, and cooling. We expect a significant shift towards this technology, and other liquid-cooling systems as the industry continues to evolve.