Most people don't take cooling into account when considering energy use in computing, but when it comes to data centers, it becomes a major factor. While air cooling has long been the standard for cooling, liquid cooling is now entering the picture in order to create a more efficient data center.
Specifically, Amsterdam-based Switch Datacenters is considering liquid cooling as part of a new R&D program meant specifically to make its data center more efficient, with the ultimate goal being a power usage effectiveness (PUE) of 1.1. Currently, the data center has a PUE of 1.27, partly due to its free-air cooling and aisle containment solutions.
The belief is that liquid cooling can reduce this PUE even further, along with new alternative energy efficient data center power solutions, such as AC and DC setups.
According to Switch's technical director, Gregor Snip, the company is driven to prove corporate social responsibility, while bringing about energy and cost savings.
“Air cooling will continue to play an important role in respect to cooling needs, but air cooling at this moment is facing its limits, especially when you take into regard the needs of high demand, heavy internet users,” Snip added. “I don’t think that liquid cooling technologies will fit the colocation needs of all our clients but some clients — I mean heavy Internet users — might be very pleased with these technologies.”
It's possible that Switch's data centers will one day feature a combination cooling solution incorporating two, or even three, complementary solutions customized to better meet client needs. Of course, the thorough R&D testing being conducted must be completed successfully first before the company moves on with full-scale implementation.
Switch Datacenters first began its R&D program in November. The results of the program, dubbed the "Data Center of the Future Program," will ultimately be shared in order to further data centers around the world.
In October, the company was audited by the BSI Group and received ISO 27001 certification.
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Edited by Rachel Ramsey