BRITISH SERVER COOLING FIRM Iceotope has developed what it claims is the first liquid cooled InfiniBand and Ethernet high-performance network and interconnect switch for high performance computing (HPC).
Iceotope's technology was developed in conjunction with Mellanox, and means that Mellanox's low latency switches can now be cooled with water of up to 45C, allowing "chiller-less" operation in all climates with improved efficiency and no airflow, according to Iceotope.
"Networking and interconnect switches are a vital part of HPC infrastructure. HPC units typically transmit large amounts of data, with low-performance interconnects often acting as a bottleneck," the firm said.
"Switches lower the energy use by more efficiently switching data transmitted, but to date units have always been cooled by air rather than liquid."
Iceotope describes the liquid cooling technology as "a huge step towards entirely fan-less HPC" because it improves efficiency by cooling electronics with water temperatures up to 45C.
This means that external temperatures are not a factor and the switches can be installed in any climate without the need for chillers, according to the firm.
Iceotope founder and chief visionary officer Peter Hopton said: "Until now, it was widely accepted that the interconnect switch would never be liquid cooled. It's great to be able say that, thanks to our work with Mellanox, that's no longer the case."
The technology works by cooling all switch components, including any optical modules inserted into the switch, and transferring all the heat directly into liquid.
The waste heat is then removed in the form of hot water, which is pumped around the cabinet and can be repurposed for domestic heating.
The switches offer Iceotope's 'hot swap clean and dry' experience, much like a traditional air-cooled server blade, taking up one standard slot on the Iceotope PetaGen cabinet, which delivers up to 72 in total.
PetaGen, short for 'Peta-Generation', was developed by Iceotope with Intel last year. It refers to petascale computing, a term that the firm said applies to the current generation of the world's fastest supercomputer systems.
It is a full production total liquid cooling solution that improves IT performance, energy efficiency and density, according to Iceotope, while reducing total cost of ownership and data centre complexity. Unlike most IT server designs, PetaGen does not need to evaporate or waste clean water.
Switches available include the 36-port FDR 56Gb/s InfiniBand and 40/56Gb Ethernet. Iceotope is looking to support technologies such as EDR 100Gbps InfiniBand as part of its development pipeline. µ
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