Microsoft is looking for better ways to dissipate heat for its AI equipment. One of the obvious options is immersion liquid cooling. It is precisely such an installation, in which the servers are immersed in tanks of coolant, that the Microsoft Azure cloud platform is currently testing.
“We are exploring ways to achieve higher cooling efficiency and liquid cooling is what we focused on.”– said Mark Russinovich, CTO of Microsoft Azure. He noted that we are talking about two-phase liquid cooling, in which the company has achieved great success – in the test version, up to 250 kW are allocated per rack.
Microsoft uses Allied Control technology (owned by BitFury), which has long been used to cool mining systems. Its peculiarity is that the tanks are isolated from the external environment, so their installation practically does not require special preparation of rooms or halls and additional air cooling at the room level, which also affects the overall energy efficiency.
“Liquid cooling affects the entire ecosystem <...> It allows us to have higher density racks, which can result in less data center footprint and lower power consumption.“Said Husam Alissa, chief engineer at Microsoft’s Liquid Cooling Lab. It looks like the company intends to create a new type of cloud systems that require more powerful cooling and increased performance.
Immersion cooling is one of the promising technologies being tested in Azure that will help Microsoft reduce its environmental impact. Among others – the use of hydrogen instead of diesel in the backup power systems of data centers, as well as the installation of ultra-large interactive UPSs at the border of the data center, which not only smooth out power consumption during peak hours, but, if necessary, can give excess stored energy back to the general power system.