Go With the Flow

Pump water around your data center to keep your servers cool? Sounds crazy - but it might just work

November 30, 2004

1 Min Read
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The idea of pumping gallons of water in and around millions of pounds worth of server hardware might sound like the work of a mad performance artist, but it's serious stuff. Water is the latest, ah, hot technology in the data center.

We all know about the heat problems caused by servers with blade servers, in particular, posing a massive problem for IT managers (see Data Center Heat Wave and Vegas Blade Warning).

The traditional method of cooling data centers, i.e. pumping air around, is safe enough, but how effective is it? One expert has already warned that each kilowatt of heat generated requires about 140 cubic feet of cool air passing through the rack every minute to deliver acceptable cooling (see The Heat Is On).

As servers become even more compact, they are producing more heat than ever before. This problem is compounded by the fact that computer rooms are now packed to the rafters with a plethora of kit, from servers to routers and switches.

IT managers are left with two big problems – their servers are turning into weapons of mass dissipation, and there is also less space available in which to channel all that hot air away. Water could be the answer.One vendor touting water as the solution to the data center heat dilemma is Knürr Inc. The Simi Valley, California-based company has yet to deploy any of its water-cooling units, which typically sell for about $10,000, in the U.S. However, Knürr's water-cooled products have already been deployed in Europe, and the company claims that it is only a matter of weeks before the units make their big American debut.

But Knürr will find itself up against its arch-rival American Power Conversion Corp.

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