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What Does it Take to Make the Switch to Liquid Cooling?

Liquid cooling solutions can fit within existing infrastructure

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Content streaming, online banking, cloud computing, sophisticated smart phone apps, eCommerce, edge computing, artificial intelligence. These are just a few examples of applications that fuel data processing and traffic demand in data centers throughout the world. 

As the world becomes more electrified, data centers are relied upon to support mission critical systems. Constant advancements in technology and connectivity drive new applications and an increased need to safeguard the world’s data and networks. As demand for internet and cloud services rises, data centers are being asked to exponentially scale up their capacity. In many cases they need to do this without dramatically increasing the physical space they occupy.  

Liquid cooling can help data centers increase capacity while maintaining efficient space and energy use. Additionally, many next generation chips and advancements in mission critical IT equipment will be designed specifically for liquid cooling. Because of this, many new data centers are built with liquid cooling infrastructure in place.  

Liquid-to-liquid cooling, where heat is transferred from IT equipment to liquid, and that liquid is cooled by additional liquid lines that carry heat out of the rack to a cooler, is extremely effective but requires liquid lines, valves and connections to be connected to every rack position throughout the facility. While the upfront investment can seem daunting, it is likely to pay off in the long term because of increased performance, capacity, future-proofing and energy efficiency.  

Additionally, retrofitting existing facilities for complete liquid-to-liquid cooling can be a difficult project for data center operators to execute. Completing the retrofitting process requires IT equipment to be temporarily removed from the facility, causing downtime. While enterprise data centers run by some companies can temporarily rent space to operate equipment while they invest in their facilities, companies whose primary business is operating data centers for large customers might not be able to shut down equipment for any amount of time.  

For data center operators who are ready to take the leap into liquid-to-liquid cooling, including smaller and enterprise facilities or edge computing projects, nVent can help determine the most optimal liquid cooling solutions. However, there is an alternative path that allows data centers to bring the high performance of liquid cooling into facilities that only have air-cooling infrastructure: liquid-to-air cooling.  

Liquid-to-air cooling can help data centers cool IT equipment more effectively while taking advantage of existing air-cooling infrastructure. Data center managers can also implement liquid-to-air cooling systems more quickly and at a lower price point than full liquid-to-liquid cooling.  

In liquid-to-air cooling, servers and chips are cooled by either direct contact liquid or immersion liquid cooling, but the liquid is circulated within the rack and radiates heat out of an intelligent heat exchanger, where the air-cooling infrastructure of the room can pull the heat out of the room. nVent offers several options for intelligent heat exchangers for liquid-to-air systems. 

With cloud providers looking to provide additional services to their customers and AI applications requiring more advanced technology, data centers can expect to see increased demand for liquid cooling. To protect mission critical infrastructure, providers can rely on hybrid liquid-to-air systems to connect and protect their mission critical infrastructure with minimal impact to existing room infrastructure and a smaller upfront investment. 

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