Liquid Cooling Still Only Fits High Density Computing

What’s Stopping Liquid Cooling?

The Data Center Journal, January 30, 2014

With all its benefits, liquid cooling would appear to be a default solution for much of what ails today’s data center. But combined with its downsides and cost premiums, it still hasn’t seen the kind of adoption one might expect. Will liquid cooling, whatever the particular mode, ever replace air as the default option for data centers?

Shades of Green

Because liquid-based cooling systems typically deliver greater efficiency than air-based systems, they score environmental points by reducing energy consumption. But data center managers must be more concerned about another “green”: money. An environmentally friendly but unprofitable company is soon an empty building that is soon replaced by someone else with more financial sense, so energy-saving measures must also fit in the budget. To be sure, these two greens are not always at odds: greater energy efficiency does mean lower energy costs. According to Martin LaMonica at IEEE Spectrum, “Given computing’s growing energy cost and environmental footprint, proponents say it’s just a matter of time before some form of liquid cooling wins out.” But lower energy costs are not the only fiscal consideration.

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