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Data Storage Hardware IT

A Closer Look At Immersion Cooling For the Data Center 213

Posted by timothy
from the where's-the-vinegar dept.
1sockchuck writes "Want to save money on data center cooling? Tip your racks on their side, fill them with mineral oil, and submerge your servers. Austin startup Green Revoluton Cooling first profiled here) has a video demo of its immersion cooling solution, which it says can handle racks using up to 100kW of power. A photo gallery on the company web site shows some early installations."
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A Closer Look At Immersion Cooling For the Data Center

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  • by macs4all (973270) on Wednesday April 13, 2011 @08:15AM (#35806138)

    The only other issue I can imagine might crop up would be discovering the hard way that some polymer used in one of the system's components doesn't handle oil exposure well in the long term. I suspect that most are fine; but if the plasticizer used to soften the insulator coating on some important bundle of wires leaches out over 18 months in a warm oil bath, and the embrittled insulator cracks and shorts the next time you mess with it, the joke would be on you...

    Hard drives aren't the only thing designed with "vent holes".

    Every single electrolytic capacitor has a tiny vent hole (to keep them from acting like a mini fragmentation grenade if they develop an internal short circuit, etc.) Over time, with thermal cycling, the oil might get pumped in and out of the vent holes, thus degrading the electrolyte (guessing), and one fine day...

    And as you say, think of the insulation on the cables...

  • by GameboyRMH (1153867) <> on Wednesday April 13, 2011 @09:09AM (#35806550) Journal

    Additionally, it has the nasty tendency to dissolve some plastics over time.

    From what I understand, this has been the main problem with immersion cooling. Mineral oil softens PCBs.

Have you ever noticed that the people who are always trying to tell you `there's a time for work and a time for play' never find the time for play?