Microsoft now into liquid: Microsoft’s new cooling system dunks data servers in boiling liquid

Microsoft now into liquid

Microsoft now into liquid

Generally speaking, immersion is not what they do, they usually use pumps and pipes and keep liquid separate from the boards. While immersion cooling is neat, it generally is impractical to actually roll out at scale (so expensive you’ll never recoup investment, and it’s much harder to replace a bad part). I generally find that H2O+NaCL, or H2SO4 immersion improves the performance and ease of administration of servers running Microsoft software. These pre-packed, shipping container-sized data centers can be spun up on demand and run deep under the ocean’s surface for sustainable, high-efficiency and powerful compute operations, the company said. Their role as a core infrastructure has become more apparent than ever and emerging technologies such as AI and IoT will continue to drive computing needs.

Microsoft now into liquid

The new ecosystem created by datacenters capitalizing on liquid immersion cooling has other benefits as well. “It’s heat in a more effective and compact form,” Belady says. That makes repurposing it, whether to warm a building or grow plants inside a greenhouse, easier and more efficient. The benefits from the scaling and adoption of two-phase liquid immersion cooling touch a wide range of important issues around sustainability. Crucially, a better power-to-cooling ratio means significantly less energy is required to support the same level of computing power.

“Because of the efficiencies in both power and cooling that liquid cooling affords us, it unlocks new potential for datacenter rack design,” Walsh wrote. This production-environment deployment of two-phase immersion cooling is the next step on the company’s journey to deliver more powerful and reliable, and more environmentally friendly data centers, officials said. Microsoft has been testing two-phase liquid immersion cooling technology for a number of years. Now, it’s starting to implement this technology in its Azure datacenters, starting with its Quincy, Wash.-based ones, officials said on April 6. Microsoft says it’s the first major cloud provider to test and implement two-phase liquid immersion cooling in its data centers. They’re both dropping servers carrying sensitive data into goop in an effort to save the planet.

Microsoft is Now Submerging Servers Into Liquid Baths

One group had a car battery they were using to power their thing. They had a long flathead screwdriver they were using and one of them set the thing on top of the car battery while he was working on something. It rolled onto the battery posts, there was a bright light and a bad smell, and most of the screwdriver was gone. If your hands are wet with something conductive – sweat being a good example – you CAN get a decent zap from 12v if the current potential is sufficient.

Anything with fluorine in it doesn’t like to break down much. Would be interesting to know what they are using and its potential impact. Nautilus Data Technologies, for instance, has raised over $100 million to develop data centers dotting the surface of Davey Jones’ Locker.

Microsoft now into liquid

However, the environmental footprint of the industry is growing at an alarming rate,” Alexander Danielsson, an investment manager at Norrsken VC noted last year when discussing that firm’s investment in Submer. While that claim may be true, liquid cooling is a well-known approach to dealing with moving heat around to keep systems working. Cars use liquid cooling to keep their motors humming as they head out on the highway. Part of this work is also related to Microsoft’s environmental pledge to tackle water scarcity. The company has committed to replenish even more water than it uses for its global operations by 2030.

By 2050, the company plans to remove more carbon from the atmosphere than it has generated since it was founded in 1975. For now, Microsoft has one tank running workloads in a hyper-scale Azure datacenter. For the next several months, the Microsoft team will perform a series of tests on the technology. It’s probably nothing more than a stupid publicity stunt coupled to some kind of a tax write off! The heat in the evaporated liquid must be drawn off by radiating it away from the vessel to get it to condense back into a liquid again,. How is that stage of the process done, by big fans blowing air across some fins?

Microsoft has moved from seafloors to flooding servers

I’m just waiting for some company to announce they’re going to wirelessly supply power to their servers, you know, to eliminate all those pesky power cords. This is just the start of Fluid making its way to Microsoft 365, and we’re bound to see more over the course of this year and beyond. It will be particularly interesting to see how Microsoft integrates Fluid more deeply into both Teams and Outlook, the main communications tools used by businesses that rely on the Office suite.

A bigger bath is simpler but in a failure state more equipment must be taken off line, drained, then repaired, and then dunked to go back on line. Smaller baths with less equipment become more complex to manage. Microsoft has already been operating an undersea data center for the past two years. The company actually trotted out the tech as part of a push from the tech company to aid in the search for a COVID-19 vaccine last year. Microsoft is going to be mainly studying the reliability implications of this new cooling and what types of burst workloads it could even help with for cloud and AI demand. Our work with the Project Natick program a few years back really demonstrated the importance of eliminating humidity and oxygen from an environment,” explains Belady.

Microsoft is now submerging servers into liquid baths

Instead of tables, graphs, and lists that are static and bound to specific documents, Fluid components are collaborative modules that exist across different applications. They will begin showing up in Microsoft Teams first this summer, embeddable in meetings and chats. Sign up to get the best content of the week, and great gaming deals, as picked by the editors.

Microsoft details plans to slash water use at its data centers

Heat of vaporization is typically much greater than that of incremental temperature increases. So it’s possible for this fluid that the greater amount of heat absorbed by boiling more than makes up for the loss of conductive heat transfer into the gas bubbles, so long as there is enough movement in the fluid to carry away the bubbles. If everything is closed cycle, there’s no environmental concern. When discarding the liquid, there are dedicated removal services that know how to break down fluorocarbons in an environmentally safe way. “… long term environmental impact of this fluorocarbon-based liquid…”

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Indeed, LiquidStack was spun out from a bitcoin miner to commercialize its liquid immersion cooling tech and bring it to the masses. “Fans, air handlers, chillers; with immersion cooling, you’re eliminating all of that. So the numbers in water consumption go down tremendously,” says Nishi Ahuja, senior principal engineer at Intel. Meanwhile, Microsoft continuing its research into liquid immersion cooling to reduce its dependency on water. The steel cooling tank in Quincy is filled with an engineered solution that allows servers to be dunked in the liquid and function as they would in any standard air-cooled rack. The coils that run through the tank and enable vapor to condense are connected to a separate closed-loop system that uses fluid to transfer heat from the tank to a dry cooler located outside the container that houses the tank.

This type of liquid cooling has been used by cryptominers in recent years to mine for bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. This method inspired Microsoft to trial its use over the last few years, using it to test against spikes of cloud demand and intensive workloads for applications like machine learning. Last September, Microsoft announced plans to become “water positive” (i.e. to replenish more water than it uses) by 2030, and these data center efforts will be a key part of that goal. It also aims to be carbon negative by the end of the decade by removing more carbon than it emits.

The researchers think this hardware will help them understand why the servers in the underwater data center are eight times more reliable than those on land. Due to the low boiling point, fluid in the coils is never hotter than the surrounding air, negating the need to douse them in water to assist with evaporation. When it comes to cooling down a computer, there are a couple of ways to go about it.

The vapor rejects the heat at a condenser and naturally transforms back into the liquid form, Microsoft execs said. Like other major cloud vendors, Microsoft has been using air to cool down processors that are getting increasingly hot, especially when running certain workloads. Because heat transfer in liquids is “orders of magnitude more efficient than air,” immersion cooling could be a much better solution over time, execs say. It’s good to see a topic that has been the subject of research and development for a number of years (two-phase cooling) getting into mainstream bulk systems.

This immersion process has existed in the industry for a few years now, earlier Microsoft sank the entire data centre to the bottom of the Scottish sea. Imagine if someone told you they had submerged your PC into a tub of boiling liquid while the system was still running. You’d probably feel a mix of emotions, including anger, shock, and bewilderment. Well, nobody’s going to do that to you , but Microsoft did do that very thing to itself, plunging densely packed server racks into a steel tank filled with a special liquid developed by 3M.

The rate of heat transfer for a liquid is so many orders of magnitude higher than air, the whole process would be many times more efficient. The liquid itself is a strange concoction specially designed for this task to have a low boiling point. It’s also “dielectric,” meaning it acts like an insulator so it won’t short out the electronics while they’re running.

The benefits of liquid cooling, Belady says, can move beyond the traditional datacenter. “The big limiter in battery technology is the heat generated when they’re discharging,” he says. Small, self-contained server tanks could be deployed under 5G cellular communications towers, powering applications such as self-driving cars. Inside some of Microsoft’s datacenters, special nonconductive liquids, harmless to electronics, are being used to control the incredible heat given off by increasingly powerful processors—the brains of our data-centric digital world. Once steel racks packed with servers are fully immersed, their activity brings the surrounding fluid to a boil, pulling heat away and allowing the computers to operate at full capacity without overheating.