Oil cooled servers are servers that are fully submerged into mineral oil to facilitate the transfer of heat. The oil, which retains heat 1,000 times better than air, is contained in multiple tanks near the servers and is circulated by pumps. The servers are submerged in the tanks and the oil absorbs their heat. The oil is circulated to an oil and water interchanger where the heat is transferred from the oil to the water, and then it is sent back to the tanks to repeat the process.
Oil cooling, and liquid cooling in general, is primarily used in high density deployments. These deployments are usually too complex and generate too much heat to manage with traditional air cooling. As densities continue to rise, liquid cooling techniques have become more popular.
What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Oil Cooled Servers?
Oil is a more efficient retainer of heat than air and it does not need to be cooled down as much as air does to be effective. The oil can be warmer than the ambient temperature and still fulfill the task of absorbing heat. There is also no measurable degradation in the oil’s heat absorption capacity over time, and the oil can last as long as 15 years.
Another advantage of using oil to cool servers is that oil prevents rust and corrosion which helps reduce the amount of maintenance needed for IT equipment. Oil cooled server racks can also substantially reduce cooling costs as well as construction costs for future data centers that are designed to use oil cooling as opposed to other cooling methods.
Additionally, oil cooling removes the need for cooling fans, allows for a quieter facility, and reduces equipment failures by maintaining an even temperature across server components.
However, despite the promising cost savings, oil cooling is not a very popular cooling method because of how new it is. There are very few experts on oil cooling, so many data center managers are reluctant to employ oil cooling as they fear the system may fail and lead to data center downtime.
Monitor and Manage High-Density Racks with DCIM Software
High-density racks are great for fitting more compute capacity in a smaller footprint, but cooling and managing them can be a struggle.
Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) software simplifies high-density rack management and enables you to intelligently increase your density without risking downtime.
With DCIM, you can easily identify and remediate hot spots, set thresholds and alerts on power and environmental conditions to know before you have a serious problem, automate power capacity planning to eliminate stranded capacity, get at-a-glance views of the health and capacity of all your sites, visually document all cabling infrastructure, and visualize the weight capacity of each cabinet in 3D.
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