442 words. 2-minute read
Chat GPT made Artificial Intelligence (AI) mainstream, but AI utilization in data centers has been exploding. 📈
Data shows AI and GPU use in data centers is real.
- Nvidia's data center business is booming
- Experts expect GPUs will be the dominant accelerator in the data center market
- AI use isn't restricted to Google, Microsoft, and Meta. AI is being used in education, genome sequencing, banking, manufacturing, healthcare, and more.
THE PROBLEM FOR DATA CENTER OWNERS: Densities are rising. HPC and AI are being implemented. CPUs are being swapped for GPUs. Owners don't know how to design a data center without knowing how fast rack densities will increase.
- The most common thing we hear from owners is "I can't predict the future."
- They believe anything from 20kW/rack to 100kW/rack is possible in their data center.
- Owners must make strategic capital requests. Their investment in the data center to support HPC is a single investment that must provide growth.
- But owners don't want to overbuild without knowing the future.
- The industry lacks best practices on when to change from air to liquid cooling for HPC workloads.
THE KEY TAKEAWAY IS SCALE: No one can predict what rack densities will be, but you can create an effective design for HPC and AI by focusing on scale.
- Scale = flexibility. It allows you to support your data center today and allows you to add higher-density workloads in the future.
WHAT'S REQUIRED: Designing for scale requires creating design scenarios for different density profiles. How would a 20kW/rack design differ from a 40kW/rack design? How would 40kW/rack differ from 75kW/rack?
- By articulating scenarios, owners can map the commonalities in the infrastructure across all scenarios. The common infrastructure becomes the foundation that you can scale as the densities grow.
- For example, if an owner identifies chilled water as a foundation, their day 1 design uses that chilled water to support 20kW/rack.
- In addition, the design projects how to leverage the same chilled water to scale beyond day 1 by installing infrastructure and capacity up front to make it accessible in the future.
- This allows scale:
- 40kW/rack: Add a Chiller Distribution Unit (CDU) that would support Rear Door Heat Exchangers.
- 75kW/rack: Install rack-mounted CDU for liquid-cooled chips, coupling Rear Door Heat Exchanger (40kW scenario) with liquid-cooled chips.
CONCLUSION: It’s not all or nothing. Wholesale shifts aren’t required. The data center doesn’t have to be only liquid cooling. By planning for scale, owners are making responsible up-front investments without prohibiting their future capacity to support HPC.
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