June 19th, 2018 by Adam Armstrong
Lenovo Reveals Its Neptune Liquid Cooling For The Data Center
This week at the International Supercomputing Conference (ISC) in Frankfurt, Germany, Lenovo announced a new holistic approach to liquid cooling for the data center it is calling Neptune. The company is making the bold claim that this new technology can allow data centers to run up to 50% more efficiently, without hindering performance or density. Lenovo will be demonstrating the technology at its booth (C1220).
Named after the Roman god, Neptune takes a three pronged approach much like his trident. This include: Direct to Node (DTN) warm water cooling, rear door heat exchanger (RDHX) and hybrid solutions, which combines both air and liquid cooling. The cooling is aimed at reducing OPEX by tackling the ever-increasing need of electrical consumption that is fueled in part by cooling needs. This is extremely relevant in HPC where the processors can consume 200W or more. Though the company points out that it can be used in any data center where costs of cooling are a concern.
DTN has been in development since 2012. DTN is being utilized in the ThinkSystem SD650. Here, DTN uses warm water (50°C) to cool even warmer parts like CPUs, PCIe drives, and voltage regulators. The higher temperature water and like of fans in the SD650 means they require less electricity and allow for say Xeon Scalable CPUs to run up to 240W or more versus the 165W cap on air-cooled systems. In other words: better performance at a lower power consumption. Lenovo has installed roughly 6,500 SD650s at LRZ in Germany proving that scaling is not a problem for Neptune.
RDHX functions more like a radiator, absorbing and discharging heat. Not only does this eliminate the hot air that is typically expelled (lowering overall air cooling) it uses standard components and a special rack for the water. The final prong is a combination of air and water-cooling that the company states should be ready in the near future.