Monday, July 20, 2015

News: Iceotope liquid cool Mellanox switches

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Iceotope, the hi-tech firm based on the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) in Rotherham, has developed another innovative solution for the power-hungry global data centre and High Performance Computing (HPC) markets.

Working with the University of Leeds, the enterprise is developing a new system that reduces the power consumed in data centres by using liquid rather than air to provide cooling. The firm has now developed the first fan-less Mellanox-based InfiniBand and Ethernet high-performance network and interconnect switch for HPC.

American manufacturer, Mellanox produces networking and interconnect switches that are a vital part of HPC infrastructure. HPC units typically transmit large amounts of data, with low-performance interconnects often acting as a bottleneck. Switches lower the energy used by more efficiently switching data transmitted, but to date units have always been cooled by air rather than liquid.

Iceotope's patented approach sees components encapsulated in 3M Novec, an inert and environmentally sound coolant. Combined with Iceotope’s technology, Mellanox'energys high-performance, low latency switches can now be cooled with hot water (of up to 45C), enabling chiller-less operation in all climates, with absolutely no airflow, and significant efficiency benefits.

Peter Hopton, founder and chief visionary officer at iceoptope, said: "These liquid-cooled switches represent a huge step towards entirely fan-less HPC. The HPC industry is embracing liquid cooling at a remarkable rate, it's just a case of technologies being available to match demand. Until now, it was widely accepted that the interconnect switch would never be liquid cooled. It's great to be able say that, thanks to our work with Mellanox, that's no longer the case."

Iceotope's technology cools all switch components (including any optical modules inserted into the switch) by transferring all the heat directly into liquid.

Gilad Shainer, vice president of marketing at Mellanox Technologies, said: "Liquid cooling is an extremely exciting proposition in the HPC market. Mellanox is dedicated to providing best of breed products and solutions for HPC and we are pleased to collaborate with Iceotope to further data centre efficiency with high quality liquid cooled alternatives to air."

Last year, Iceotope brought its first products to market. The PetaGen family is a range of cabinets that include liquid heat exchangers, pumps, network switches and tanks. Each thin, modular electronic circuit boards, known as server blades, contains a sealed convective cell, immersing the components in the coolant. The heat is then transferred to a secondary coolant loop. Heat generated has the potential to be passed to the building central heating system, further reducing costs and carbon footprint.

In the US alone, a massive $7.4 billion is estimated to be spent on cooling data centres every year. The Iceotope solution typically reduces data centre cooling costs by 97%, ICT power load by 20% and overall ICT infrastructure costs by 50%.

Iceoptope website

Images: Iceotope

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