The Shift to Data Center Liquid Cooling

Recent studies indicate a significant shift among data center operators towards reevaluating their cooling strategies to accommodate the escalating demands of modern workloads. In fact, approximately 38% of operators now express concerns about the adequacy of their current cooling solutions*. At LEDG, we've observed a growing trend among our customers towards embracing liquid cooling technologies to address burgeoning requirements. However, as with any pivotal data center innovation, a thorough assessment of your existing technology infrastructure is imperative before adopting liquid cooling. Here are top factors to consider:

Current Cooling Infrastructure Evaluation: Assess the data center’s existing cooling infrastructure, including air-based cooling systems such as computer room air conditioners (CRAC) and computer room air handlers (CRAH). Understand the limitations, efficiency, and capacity of the current setup.

Heat Load Analysis: Analyze the heat load generated by the IT equipment in the data center. This includes servers, storage systems, networking equipment, and other hardware. Understanding the heat output is crucial for determining the cooling requirements.

Liquid Cooling Technologies: Evaluate various liquid cooling technologies available in the market, such as direct-to-chip, immersion cooling, or rear-door heat exchangers. Compare their effectiveness, energy efficiency, scalability, and compatibility with existing infrastructure.

Space and Layout Considerations: Assess the physical layout of the data center to determine the feasibility of implementing liquid cooling solutions. Consider factors such as available space, rack density, piping requirements, and accessibility for maintenance.

Cost Analysis: Conduct a cost-benefit analysis to determine the financial implications of implementing liquid cooling. Consider factors such as upfront investment costs, operational expenses, maintenance requirements, and potential long-term savings.

Risk Assessment: Evaluate potential risks associated with liquid cooling, such as leaks, corrosion, or system failures. Develop strategies to mitigate these risks and ensure the reliability and resilience of the cooling infrastructure.

Regulatory Compliance: Ensure that the proposed liquid cooling solutions comply with relevant industry standards and regulations, especially regarding safety, environmental impact, and data center operations.

Implementation Plan: Develop a detailed implementation plan outlining the steps required to deploy liquid cooling solutions in the data center. Consider factors such as timeline, resource allocation, training needs, and potential disruptions to ongoing operations. It is also essential to standardize the liquid cooling supply chain for header and branch line assemblies to reduce costs, improve scheduling, reliability, and sustainability.

By conducting a comprehensive assessment, data center operators can make informed decisions about implementing liquid cooling technologies to improve efficiency, reduce costs, and enhance the sustainability of their facilities.

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*AFCOM 2024 State of the Data Center Report