Cool, liquid comfort for hard-working data centers: Iceotope

For humans facing the onset of winter in northern regions, the promise of “free cooling in any climate” might not sound very appealing. But the concept resonates with at least one subset of people: IT professionals faced with keeping hard-working data center servers from overheating.

For them, the news that Iceotope — which makes just such a “free cooling” promise for data centers — has a new lease on life will be good news indeed.

The assets of Iceotope — an English company behind a scalable, modular liquid cooling platform for data centers — have been bought by a consortium that includes the original engineering team for the technology. Fund-raising for the seven-figure investment to acquire the company’s technology and intellectual property (IP) was led by Peter Hopton, the original inventor and newly appointed CTO.

The VC-backed Iceotope entered administration in October 2011. Hopton was not part of the management team when the company entered into administration.

Iceotope says its patented technology can dramatically reduce power consumption in data centers by cooling servers at the source of the heat: the component level. The electronic components are sealed inside giant heat-pipes containing an ultra-convective fluid. All the generated heat can then be captured and efficiently removed without heating up the surrounding data center environment.

According to the company, data centers with Iceotope servers can save 20 percent of power consumption at the server level and save 97 percent of the costs associated with cooling power, for an overall cost reduction of more than 50 percent for the typical data centre.

“With the data center industry growing by 12 percent each year, data center providers are struggling to keep up with demand for higher efficiency and higher density, while keeping power consumption and costs to a minimum,” Hopton said. “Iceotope’s unique technology can help data center providers to save half of all overall electricity costs compared to an average data centre.”

With Iceotope servers, the components are encapsulated in 3M Novec, an inert and environmentally sound coolant. Through a state of ultra-convection, waste heat generated by the servers is used to passively pump the coolant through the system, thus removing the need for fans, chillers and airflow. Waste heat can then transferred to outside of the data center or can even be repurposed to heat other office spaces.

“According to IDC, approximately 40 percent of today’s data center costs are power-related; however, by 2015, this figure will exceed 50 percent,” Hopton said. “In order to attempt to combat these escalating costs, many companies are looking to drastic measures to improve their cooling efficiency, such as moving their data centers to the Arctic Circle. Iceotope technology makes this move obsolete, as this unique liquid cooling technology allows full-time, free cooling everywhere on the globe.”

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