Everything you wanted to know about data center cooling (but were afraid to ask)

  • Liquid cooling is emerging as a key data center technology

  • There are three major types of liquid cooling: direct-to-chip, rear-door heat exchangers and immersion systems

  • Analysts and data center companies alike foresee a surge in liquid cooling driven by rising demand for high-performance compute workloads

We have to be honest: liquid cooling as a technology isn’t new. Dell’Oro Group Research Director Lucas Beran noted it has been used for more than a decade to help chill the supercomputers used for research workloads. But, with the technology now poised to go mainstream in data centers, there is a reason for cloud industry professionals to know what it is.

“More and more people want access to that level of compute infrastructure and power,” Beran told Solverlinings in a recent interview. “So, what’s changing is how many people are trying to utilize these workloads and as that proliferates from a small segment of the market to a core part of almost all enterprise businesses, that requires a significant change in the data center physical infrastructure.”

More specifically, it will require changes to data center cooling systems as heat generation exceeds what air cooling can accommodate. Today, Beran said direct-to-chip cooling is leading the charge, but there’s plenty more to know about liquid cooling systems.

Want to get up to speed? Then these stories are must-read.

👉 The top 3 liquid cooling solutions for data centers

Immersion, direct-to-chip and rear-door heat exchanger are all systems you should be familiar with if you’re going to talk liquid cooling. No idea what those are? No worries. We break it down for you in this primer piece.

👉 Direct liquid cooling is coming to a data center near you

One of the three major forms of liquid cooling, direct liquid cooling (also known as direct-to-chip) is on the rise. We chatted up Dell Technologies, Vertiv and Ciena to learn more about how it works, who is using it and other potential applications in the data center beyond cooling servers.

👉 Experts see 'exponential' jump in liquid, immersion cooling interest

An examination of the broader liquid cooling market, we took a look in this piece at what’s already out in the wild, what’s emerging and what’s driving demand for liquid cooling in the first place. Hint: it involves artificial intelligence (AI).

👉 Immersion cooling tech is hot. What are hyperscalers waiting for?

Immersion cooling sounds cool and all (ha, get it?!), but anything that involves plunging computers into a liquid bath is at least a little complicated. This piece delves into who is leading adoption of immersion cooling, hurdles to adoption, and how the technology could change the shape of greenfield data centers.

👉 Equinix gears up for the liquid cooling revolution

This piece is a case study of sorts, looking at how data center operator Equinix is preparing for the liquid cooling revolution, its planned deployments and how liquid cooling plays into its sustainability efforts.