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Study from Iceotope with Meta: Efficiency of Precision Immersion Liquid Cooling for High-Density Drives

Test precision immersion cooling demonstrates efficiency.

Iceotope, provider in precision immersion cooling, announces a study with Meta confirming the practicality, efficiency and effectiveness of chassis-level liquid cooling technology to meet the cooling requirements of high-density storage disks increasingly being deployed and utilised by hyperscale data centre service providers.

Iceotope Study With Meta 2212

The study suggests the advantages of improved thermal management, reduced vibration and equalised temperature across the JBOD, which leads directly to lower failure rates and costs for data centre operators. The hard drive systems supplied in a rack form factor in chassis drawers are for precision immersion cooling technology.

Neil Edmunds, director innovation, said: “As demand for storage continues to escalate, so will the solutions needed by hyperscale data centre providers to efficiently cool the equipment. The study demonstrated that liquid cooling for high-density storage successfully cools the drives at a lower, more consistent temperature for fewer drive failures, lower TCO and improved ESG compliance.

High-density storage proliferating
With constant streams of data emerging from the IoT, video, AI and more, up to 463EB of data is expected to be generated by each person, each day by 2025. How data is accessed and interacted with is constantly changing, causing a real impact on the processing and storage of that data. In just a few years, it’s predicted that global data storage will exceed 200ZB of which half will be stored in the cloud.

This presents a challenge for hyperscale data centre storage infrastructure. According to Seagate, cloud data centres choose mass-capacity HDDs to store 90% of their exabytes. Typically found in a 3.5-inch form factor, HDDs are a tried and tested technology which continues to offer data centre operators cost-effective storage at scale. Current top-of-the-range units provide 20TB capacity, but this is expected to reach >120TB by the end of the decade.

More storage means more spinning disks, higher-speed motors, and more actuators – all of which translates into more power being used. As disks go up in power, so does the amount of heat they produce. The introduction of helium into HDD enclosures over the last decade has not only improved disk performance with less drag but with the units now sealed, the practicality of using liquid cooling solutions at HDD level has been opened.

Meta study liquid cooling for high-density storage
The study showcases an air-cooled, high-density storage system re-engineered to utilise single-phase immersion cooling. The standard commercial storage system consisted of 72 hard drives, 2 single socket nodes, 2 SAS expander cards, NIC and a power distribution board in a 4OU form factor. The hard drives were hermetically sealed, and helium filled.

The liquid cooling system tested was an Iceotope precision immersion liquid cooling system – the air-cooled version was modified with the addition of a dedicated dielectric loop connected to a liquid-to-liquid heat exchanger and pump. Meta proceeded to measure temperature variation across the hard drives and cooling pump power in the air-cooled and liquid-cooled systems.

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Results are conclusive
The study demonstrated precision immersion cooling was a more efficient means of cooling the HDD racks with the following results:

  • Using precision immersion liquid cooling, the variance in temperature between all 72 HDDs was just 3°C, regardless of location inside the JBODs

  • Liquid cooling demonstrated that the HDD systems could operate reliably in rack water inlet temperatures up to 40°C.

  • System-level cooling power was less than 5% of the total power consumption.

  • Liquid cooling’s virtually silent operation helps mitigate acoustic vibrational issues for drives often encountered with air-cooling solutions.

While precision immersion is found to be a superior alternative to air-cooling high-density disk arrays, other forms of liquid cooling including cold plates, tank immersion, or 2-phase immersion, don’t preserve the operational benefits such as HDD density, user access for serviceability and ability to hot swap drives to the same degree.

About Iceotope
Its chassis-level precision immersion technology offers a simple, unified platform that cools, protects and monitors the whole IT stack in any location from the extreme edge to the hyperscale cloud. Offering up to 96% water reduction, up to 40% power reduction, and up to 40% carbon emissions reduction per kW of ITE,
the company’s precision immersion cooling solutions are game-changing in the design, build and operation of data centres.

Iceotope study with Meta reveals efficiency of precision immersion liquid cooling for high density storage drives (registration required)

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