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O2 vs H20

Trying to balance a business computing need within the constraints of a budget is not an easy task. There are two primary enclosure cooling options for todays server rooms: water cooled and air cooled cabinets. For a business to decide which of these two options best meets its needs, several key factors must be taken into account. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each option.

Water cooled solutions

For their part, water cooled solutions are a very efficient means of mitigating heat loads in a fully loaded, high-density rack. There are manufacturers that claim to be able to handle up to 30kw per cabinet. Most companies addressing air cooled solutions claim to handle up to 8kw per rack, while a select few claim up to 15kw per rack. The main problems encountered by manufacturers of chilled water systems are cost and the introduction of water to data center environments.

Water solutions are specialized and require highly specialized components. Because they come in customized structures and do not make use of a business’s current investment in computer cabinets, their cost increases accordingly.

Infrastructure requirements for water are also more extensive than air. This is not a plug-and-play solution – it is an engineered solution. Water solutions involve larger capex, construction costs, and opex. They must be designed, built, and monitored for leaks and failures. Because they are a hard-wired solution, portability is not an attribute. Locations must be predetermined, and moving the cabinets is not practical without considerable reworking of the infrastructure.

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