Currently, HPC is in urgent need of cooling technologies with high efficiency and lower energy consumption. However, the cost, safety, deployment and maintenance challenges of cooling solutions are big concerns of users. Liquid cooling technologies, compared to traditional air cooling counterparts, boast prominent advantages in heat dissipation efficiency, energy utilization, and other aspects, and have seen rapid growth in recent years. Nevertheless, liquid cooling technologies are still subject to challenges.
For example, immersion and spray-type liquid cooling technologies, despite their more efficient heat dissipation, require to have the IT components continuously observed to maintain the functionality and reliability because of direct contact with the coolant. Moreover, excessive usage of coolant pushes the limit on machine room load-bearing capacity, and raises operation and maintenance costs. Plate-type water cooling technology, though not exposed to heating elements directly, uses uninsulated water as the coolant which, once leaked, will cause lethal damage to HPC systems, giving rise to safety hazards.
Inspur joined hands with the Institute of Electrical Engineering of Chinese Academy of Sciences (IEECAS), combining Inspur's leading supercomputing servers with IEECAS's natural circulation evaporative cooling technology to achieve an efficient, reliable and energy saving liquid cooling HPC system. The system is equipped with Inspur's high-density server i24 - which can support 4 high-performance two-socket computing nodes in 2U - and the natural circulation evaporative cooling suite developed by IEECAS.
The natural circulation evaporation method requires no circulating pumps - which are necessary in traditional plate-type water cooling but vulnerable and energy consuming - and enables automatic control over condenser fans, eliminating manual operation for over 90% of the time. This further reduces cooling overheads and lowers the PUE values of data centres to below 1.1 for green and energy-efficient operation. The non-corrosive insulating cooling liquid protects IT devices from damage in the event of leakages, greatly improving safety. In addition, the entire cooling system is compact in size and easy to deploy and maintain, with less demanding requirements on machine rooms.
The cooling system has been successfully deployed in a big science project and proved to be excellent.