Historically, data center operators have been reluctant to adopt liquid cooling, unless it was deemed absolutely necessary. The need for liquid cooling is determined by power densities, usually measured at the rack level. Applications that have necessitated liquid cooling include cryptocurrency mining and high-performance compute for academic, government/defense and cloud service provider organizations.
Although many liquid cooling companies tout their solutions as more efficient than traditional air based cooling solutions, the data center market has been largely hesitant to adopt liquid cooling technologies. Reasons companies do not adopt it include:
- Data center operators’ fear of liquid within the data center damaging the IT equipment
- Difficulty performing routine equipment maintenance with liquid cooling solutions
- The upfront expense to retrofit existing data centers
- Alternative cooling solutions, like rear door heat exchanges and in-row cooling, can address high density pockets
IHS Markit expects liquid cooling to become a more widely adopted solution in the next ten years, with one of the biggest factors in this new perspective being the rise of co-processors in servers.
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