Hosing Down the Data Center

By Jeffrey Burt  |  Posted 2006-05-30 Print this article Print

ISR is hoping its SprayCool technology gains corporate momentum.

For the past seven years, power management technology company ISR has been selling its SprayCool product to government agencies looking to reduce the heat generated by their servers. Now, with rising power and cooling costs becoming a growing concern among corporate data centers, the Liberty Lake, Wash., company is hoping enterprises will take to spraying a fine mist onto servers. ISRs technology uses an inert liquid, dubbed SprayCoolant, to cool processors in a server and remove the heat from the system without letting it escape into the data center. The coolant evaporates once it hits electronic hot spots.
ISR has been trying to woo server OEMs in hopes that they will offer the SprayCool technology with their systems, while at the same time formulating a product road map that will grow the reach of the technology by expanding the types of hardware and components it can cool, said Patchen Noelke, ISRs director of marketing.
"The strategy over the last year has been to [target] a commercial effort toward the data center," Noelke said. Multiple forces—from more-dense servers, to smaller and more-powerful processors, to the rising cost of energy—have conspired over the past few years to drive up power costs in corporate data centers. Click here to read more about HPs efforts to cool the data center. Smaller servers armed with more-powerful components not only are consuming more electricity but also generating more heat, which is putting pressure on the air-conditioning units in facilities. Technology companies are looking at myriad ways to ease those costs, from chips that consume less power, to better management software, to services designed to help businesses create more-efficient data centers. Some, such as IBM and Hewlett-Packard, also offer liquid-cooling devices that help remove heat from server racks. ISRs M-Series product line, which is aimed at data centers, offers a server rack that can hold both 1U (1.75-inch) and 2U (3.5-inch) rack-mounted systems. Housed in the bottom of the rack is the M-Series Thermal Server, a 4U (7-inch) box that supplies the SprayCoolant to an I/O manifold in the back of the rack. The Thermal Server is connected to the data centers water loop. Flexible plastic tubes run from the manifold to the individual processors, where SprayModule Kits replace heat sinks and are attached via the heat-sink-mounting features. The fluid is then sprayed via SprayModules onto a base plate located just above the chip. The heat from the chip causes the fluid to evaporate, and the vapor is returned to the Thermal Server, where it is recondensed in the heat exchanger. The SprayCoolant is circulated back into the server. The system is monitored by the M-Series Systems Manager, which is linked to both the Thermal Server and the individual servers in the rack to track such data as processor temperatures. A GUI displays the data. SprayCoolant is safe for electronics, according to ISR. In some government deployments, the fluid is sprayed directly onto the components. Next Page: Computing power.


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