Microsoft announced yesterday that it is now immersing servers in a special liquid at its data center located on the banks of the Columbia River. The company said it allows for greater efficiency and less downtime.
How is the company doing this? The tech giant said it is using a special liquid that boils at 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit) compared to 100 degrees Celsius (212 degrees Fahrenheit).) boiling point of water. This means that the steam quickly carries away the heat generated by the servers and, in turn, reduces the risk of overheating.
Engineers have built a condenser in the tank cap, so the vapor turns to liquid as soon as it hits the cap and returns to the tank for reuse.
Microsoft said it was inspired to test this technology by observing cryptocurrency miners using liquid immersion to get more out of their mining rigs. When the Redmond-based company tested this, the power consumption of servers running resource-intensive tasks, such as artificial intelligence, was reduced by 5% to 15%.
This is a more efficient way than evaporation from air cooling, which consumes a lot of water. Additionally, liquid immersion allows the company to pack more chips into a dense space and run them at higher power.
The tech giant is no stranger to running data servers under the liquid. In 2018, it submerged 864 servers with 27.6 petabytes of storage underwater near the Scottish coast. The servers operated in a tube similar to a submarine with no on-site maintenance. Mircosoft said it was able to reduce the failure rate to an eighth compared to data centers on the ground.
After experimenting with running a single server rack in liquid immersion, the company wants to try using multiple racks. He said such systems could allow the company to rethink server designs for low-latency, high-performance output that requires minimal maintenance.
In the future, Microsoft potentially wants to deploy these tanks in the middle of the city, under a 5G tower, to power multiple applications such as communications and autonomous cars.
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Posted Apr 7, 2021 – 08:06 UTC