“Occam’s Razor.” When you are surrounded by very intelligent people, terms like this pop up in regular conversations. It happened to me recently. As I listened intently to this deep intellect continue on to his point, I drifted off in my own thoughts and had an epiphany. Single -phase immersion cooling is the exact definition of Occam’s Razor: This rule of thumb has become the standard guideline for thinking through issues logically. If two competing theories reach the same conclusion, and they are both equally persuasive and explain the problem (or solution) satisfactorily, the logical choice should always be the less complex one. Bingo.
Spock was right. If you think logically, you'll understand single-phase immersion cooling technology is the simplest solution to the Moore’s law debate (yes, throwing in another deep conversation bullet point for good measure.)
That's full immersion of electronics in a single-phase, nontoxic, biodegradable, oil-based fluid. Immersion cooling, immersed cooling, open bath, LIC, SLIC — it goes by many names, but, basically, racks become tanks.
Now, for a history lesson. I always like to mention Seymour Cray and his 1982 immersion cooling solution for high-density electronics, but it actually begins 150 years earlier, in 1831, with Sir Michael Faraday for use in transformers. IBM commercially took it into the data center in 1966 and filed the first patents in 1968. So, when you think of immersion cooling as a solution, you are in good company with masterminds in the industry. Let’s not forget about the gamers, who we now expect to lead the charge for LIC because they were the same guys in Y2K who were dunking their home computers in mineral oil — much to the astonishment of their mothers.
We are in vogue again, thanks to the crypto community. SLIC decreases the power consumption and allows for overclocking. Miners run hot and loud, and immersion is an ideal solution. Depending on who you ask, sooner or later, all big miners will be doing immersion cooling.
Why do you think data centers are starting to pay attention again and look at the benefits? We are competing with 50 years of the CRAC. CRAC is easy. We know the CRAC. CRAC helps me sleep at night. You get the point, and I promise not to say CRAC again, but the key is changing mindsets.
If you recently attended Data Center World in Austin, you know there is a shift in the sand for immersion cooling. Conversations that never would have happened three years ago (before we all went into the COVID time warp) were happening all over the convention floor. “Maybe we should look at this” was said to me multiple times during the week from atendees as they cautiously dipped their finger into the fluid, waiting for the shock that never happened. You can definitely tell that change is coming and fast. Today’s applications require an immense amount of computing power in close proximity. Rack densities from traditional 10 to 15 kW now are reaching 50 to 100 kW! Air simply cannot cool this, forcing the hand to look at alternate cooling methods, such as immersion cooling. Over the next few years, expect to hear “We need to increase the kilowatts per square foot in the data center and save water and energy.” A large percentage of the industry will think this sounds like a riddle in itself, but, then again, Occam’s Razor had your back the whole time.