Microsoft’s strange method of cooling its servers

ABC Technology

Madrid

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If a computer or a ‘smartphone’ can get hot if it is given continuous use, imagine the temperature that the servers of a large technology dedicated to data storage can reach. Microsoft has recently solved this problem immersing your devices in a cooling liquid that reaches 50º. “Unlike water, the liquid inside the sofa-shaped tank is harmless to electronic equipment and is designed to boil at 122 degrees Fahrenheit, 90 degrees below the boiling point of water,” explained in the blog of the company.

Microsoft has started testing this method on the servers of its Azure cloud services. Biphasic immersion, as the procedure is called, allows the company to use a dielectric liquid -which does not conduct electricity- called Novec created by the 3M company that boils at 50 degrees centigrade to avoid damaging any component.

The objective is that the servers maintain a constant temperature within a closed circuit in which, after cooling and subsequent boiling of the liquid, a condenser reconverts the vapor into a liquid to continue with the process. The very operation of the devices is what causes the increase in the temperature of the liquid, which removes the heat from the computer processors.

The maximum temperature, 50 degrees, allows servers to operate normally. No risk of damage due to overheating caused by the boiling of a liquid such as water. “We are the first cloud provider to use biphasic immersion cooling in a production environment,” said Husam Alissa, Microsoft hardware engineer for advanced data center development in Redmond, Washington. In this same center Microsoft has tested.

Other companies have already done this type of experiment with liquid cooling, since Intel used Novec itself to cool a supercomputer, and SGI has also studied its feasibility.

Microsoft itself is carrying out a project called Natick in which it submerged a data center in the Scottish Sea in 2018 to keep it close to population centers and favor the use of renewable energy.

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