ZutaCore: Data Center Cooling for a Sustainable, Carbon-Neutral Future
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Climate change is a topic of intense focus as public- and private-sector organizations expend resources to mitigate its impact globally. Concern for green practices even extends to responsible investors, who pay attention to a company's environmental, social and governance (ESG) policies to ensure that their portfolios support a carbon-neutral future.
While the push for tighter ESG standards is essential, organizations have an equally powerful motivation to pursue improved energy practices in the data center as processors, accelerators and other components grow ever more performant, their cooling requirements expand beyond the capabilities of today's conventional cooling solutions. As the industry experiences a steady convergence of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and high-performance computing (HPC) to run their businesses effectively, these capabilities require data centers to support greater core counts. However, cooling those processors as well as other components can consume up to 40 percent of overall data center energy costs while generating new environmental concerns.
World Wide Technology (WWT) believes that its partner ZutaCore has created just such a revolutionary cooling system: a no-water, direct-on-chip, two-phase liquid cooling (2PLC) solution that offers numerous benefits and, most importantly, is environmentally responsible.
Data centers have always posed a heat-mitigation challenge that's grown more acute as components rise in density. Compute capabilities that once required a mainframe can now be achieved with just a half-dozen server racks, and with that enhanced performance comes additional heat that must be dissipated to prevent IT meltdown. In the modern data center, yesterday's cooling methods are not adequate.
- Air-based cooling, which uses electric fans and air conditioning to control data center temperatures, was previously the most common method. But, air cooling consumes much energy, creates a lot of noise, and cannot meet the cooling needs of today's data centers.
- Another common alternative is the liquid immersion of the IT hardware into a non-conductive, non-flammable dielectric fluid such as mineral oil or an engineered fluid. While more effective than air-based methods, its suitability is limited to stable and challenging environments such as cell phone towers, where a usage environment is built but never touched again. However, among the drawbacks to immersion cooling is that placing hardware in liquids can shorten the life of any electronics.
While these cooling methods might once have been adequate, the heat generated in today's workflows demands more – and this is where ZutaCore's 2PLC solution takes liquid cooling to a whole new level. IT and businesses need to rethink their cooling strategy rather than the oft-used approach of throwing more resources into the same old and ineffective cooling solutions. ZutaCore offers a fundamentally advanced approach that targets no-water liquid cooling resources precisely to where they're needed most.
Before describing how ZutaCore 2PLC works, it's helpful first to understand what sets two-phase liquid cooling apart. In single-
phase cooling, a liquid (water or engineered fluid) is applied to the entire hardware surface to pull heat from the whole unit rather than just the hot spots. The liquid must be pumped at high volume and pressure to ensure most of the heat is extracted.
ZutaCore's no-water 2PLC solution employs a two-phase direct-on-chip design that intelligently targets only the hardware's hot spots. It then converts the liquid to a gas, using evaporation to flush out the heat. In addition, the 2PLC cooling solution uses low-flow, low-pressure cooling to reduce liquid usage from what can traditionally be gallons per minute to a more conservative gallon per hour, and it conserves the energy needed for pumping.
ZutaCore 2PLC is a flexible, self-contained cooling solution that requires no external resources, rewiring or replumbing, and assures zero risk of IT meltdown. It offers an extended useful life – as servers are decommissioned, their 2PLC systems can be detached and repurposed on other existing hardware as well as future acquisitions. And, ZutaCore 2PLC provides the highest outlet liquid temperature, upwards of 60C, making it more effective for energy re-use. The result is an advanced cooling solution that moves large amounts of the heat off chips and away from servers, helping preserve processing power while consuming up to 50 percent less energy and physical space than previous cooling systems.
WWT is deeply committed to sustainable business practices that respect our planet. From energy conservation and waste reduction to protecting water resources and recapturing carbon, we strive for a responsible balance between safeguarding our planet and delivering business value for our customers.
But, we're not alone: WWT works with a wide variety of global businesses and organizations that share our ESG commitments – notably Intel, A principal technology partner of WWT's for more than 30 years. The energizing force behind the WWT/Intel alliance is our shared commitment to delivering responsible solutions and mission-critical outcomes that make a new world happen.
An ideal example is the collaborative work of Intel and WWT to help develop ZutaCore's two-phase liquid cooling technology, which is destined to play a role in tomorrow's environmentally benign cooling solutions. Together they will develop and test new solutions when the next-generation Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors, code-named Sapphire Rapids, arrive later in 2022.
In addition, Intel is working with ZutaCore to integrate 2PLC with Intel® Data Center Manager, Intel's portfolio of software tools to collect data and analyze the real-time health, power status, and thermal information about a range of data center devices. The introduction of Intel Data Center Manager will offer the benefits of a software-defined cooling (SDC) platform, serving as the hardware/software interface. The result will be real-time monitoring of power and thermal metrics to optimize utilization while minimizing environmental impact.
From AI and machine learning to HPC, today's ultra-demanding workflows require world-class processing performance – but those powerful CPUs pose unprecedented challenges to conventional cooling methods and can create environmental issues. ZutaCore has an easy-to-deploy, reliable, scalable and environmentally responsible solution: a liquid-cooled system that targets heat sources more efficiently, increases processor capacity 3X and is designed for the future in collaboration with partner Intel. And from an engineering, accounting and operational perspective, 2PLC can deliver a significant capital expense reduction.
Evaluate ZutaCore's 2PLC cooling solution for yourself in our Advanced Technology Center (ATC) our multi-campus research and development ecosystem that serves as our testing and validation facility for emerging innovations. Join the ATC Platform today.