UII UPDATE 262 | JUNE 2024
Intelligence Update

Air cooling’s third wind

The evolution of data center cooling technologies has been marked by significant advances in facility energy efficiency (as evident in PUE improvements) and the concurrently increasing thermal loads of modern servers. More recently, server silicon power has risen and then soared to levels thought improbable only five years ago — fuelled by developments in large AI models. This evolution has prompted many operators to consider adopting direct liquid cooling (DLC), such as cold plates and immersion, as a near-term necessity, rather than a distant possibility.

The coming era of liquid cooling does not signify an end to innovation in air cooling. Air-cooled IT hardware will continue to be installed and operated in data centers for many years to come — often mixed with liquid-cooled systems. Even liquid cooling can benefit from upgraded heat rejection.

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