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The Energy Efficiency Advantage of Water Cooling IT Equipment in the Data Center
Keywords: Energy Efficiency, Water Cooled Servers, Data Center Thermal Management
The energy efficiency benefit of using water cooling for server thermal management versus the more conventional air-cooling approach is presented for high performance server applications. A case study comparing the power consumed in a data center facility to transfer heat from the IT equipment to the outside air ambient for an equal compute performance clusters is made. The water cooled cluster is based on the IBM Power 575 water cooled supercomputing nodes; the air cooled cluster is based on the air-cooled version of the Power 575 supercomputing node developed by Hitachi. The power consumed in the data center includes that by the computer room air conditioner (CRAC) units, the refrigeration chiller, the chilled water circulating and condenser pumps and the cooling towers. The use of water side economizers as well as 100% water cooling of the IT equipment will also be discussed. The conclusion of the study: the water cooled cluster requires 45% less cooling power than its air cooled equivalent. Water cooling utilizing a water side economizer can reduce cooling power by more than 90%.
Michael J. Ellsworth, Jr., Senior Technical Staff Member
IBM Corporation
Poughkeepsie, NY


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