Liquid immersion cooling and sustainability
Is liquid immersion cooling the answer for sustainability efforts?
With the world undergoing a digital revolution, where business and personal data are playing a crucial part in the process, there are concerns that the demand for resources that are needed to operate the required infrastructure may fuel a catastrophe. Powering data centres is such an important aspect of this industrial revolution however traditional cooling infrastructures, which are currently dominant, are taking more than 40% of energy requirements, a trend which is not sustainable.
Surveys across the globe indicate that most of the power that is used in data centres is sourced from fossil fuels meaning that few of these crucial infrastructures are truly sustainable. It is felt that, even with increased awareness of sustainability issues, data centre as an industry has not moved with speed to improve power usage effectiveness. Current statistics indicate that power usage effectiveness for this industry has been hovering around 1.8-1.6 for the past 10 years.
The adoption of liquid immersion cooling has been demonstrated as one of the ways that data centres can use to overcome power difficulties. The liquid immersion cooling technology can vastly help the industry improve power usage effectiveness, ultimately addressing the sustainability issues that have been pointed out. It also allows the business to scale up the use of computing resources without compromising the environment.
A reduction in power consumption as a result of the adoption of effective technologies, such as liquid cooling, not only leads to environmentally friendly operations but also saves a business some costs. Adoption of liquid immersion cooling methods significantly reduces the data centre power requirements, cuts greenhouse gas emissions, reduces the need for water as well as leads to maximisation of space.
While a switch from the legacy cooling system to future technologies presents huge benefits to the business, it is not without challenges. One of the largest barriers to this switch is the cost of adoption. The majority of the data centres are designed in a manner that makes retrofitting a big task. Swapping technologies over means that while the conversion takes place, one rack after another, a data centre has to maintain two-but-separate systems. Though, every little effort taken towards this switch is worth it, not just in terms of cost reduction in the long term, but also with other numerous ecological benefits that will be derived. There will be more space, workers do not need to spend entire working hours in the hot/cold aisles, noise issues will be addressed – overall improvement of the working environment.
The global market for liquid immersion cooling is still young but with the effective capabilities that the technology presents, it is expected that it will experience a growth of 10% in the next three years. Experts predict that with forward-thinking leadership in the industry, the growth for liquid immersion cooling may even be higher. At the same length, there will be a need for policies supporting sustainable transformation. These need to be adopted at different levels of government. These efforts will allay the fears as well lead to a transformation that has less impact on the environment.