Warwick University

CServerCool provides Warwick University’s Centre for Scientific Computing (CSC) with energy-efficient cooling

Heat removal and energy savings are major environmental challenges facing today’s data centers. Institutions, like Warwick University, must turn to companies like ServerCool to supply energy-efficient cooling solutions for their ever-expanding facilities.

Warwick University’s CSC is rapidly growing as the demand for high-performance computing (HPC) resources grows for post-doctoral researchers and PhD students. Facilities need to expand. However, they must balance expansion with their ability to control heat produced by the HPC resources while fitting within limited floor space. Warwick University, working closely with its consulting engineers, Couch Perry Wilkes Partnership, sought the solution from ServerCool.

ServerCool’s approach moved away from traditional Computer Room Air Conditioning (CRAC) units and towards a pairing between rear door heat exchangers (RDHx) and cooling distribution units (CDUs). This match-up provides a robust, compact and energy-efficient solution. In fact, ServerCool’s RDHx won the Silicon Valley Leadership Group’s sponsored “Chill-Off” in 2008 for being the most energy-efficient data center cooling product.

At CSC, six cabinets house forty servers each. Six RDHx units were installed in conjunction with a downflow CRAC arrangement to remove up to 15 kW of heat from each rack using a traditional chilled water system.

Each RDHx offers condensate-free operation using controlled water from the CDUs. The ServerCool RDHx has high specifications. These include refrigeration-grade coils pressure tested to 45 bar, hermetic construction, sealed copper brazing, underfloor manifolds pressure tested to 20 bar, leak detection and leak-free quick release couplings, and hose sets rated to 53 bar. The secondary circuit working pressure fed by the CDUs is 4 bar, providing an excellent safety margin.

The units reduce heat output from the servers, which can be greater than 45°C, by as much as 50%. They remove heat from the hottest part of the servers (back) and reject it into the cooling coils in the rear door. The rejected air is then cooled down until close to room temperature (approximately 20° C).

In an adjacent room, two CRAC units and two process cooling CDUs control the temperature of the water for the RDHx units. The RDHx requires no additional fans or electricity and is designed to cool without opening or removing the doors. Because the heat exchangers are in the back of the racks and in the door itself, the actual footprint of the rack remains stable and floor space is barely impacted.

The RDHx cools the air before it leaves the rack, resulting in no hot spots. Cooling air at the source is energy efficient. 150 kW of heat can be rejected to the primary chilled water system via the RDHx and a CDU, consuming only 2.5 kW of pump power. A CRAC system has a larger footprint and would consume around 10-15 kW to do the same job.

ServerCool’s solution has enabled Warwick to introduce high-density equipment with zero thermal impact to the data center. Warwick plans to implement this cooling method in its other data centers.


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