Microsoft is testing liquid cooling technology in a production environment

In the early years, Microsoft tested underwater data centers in Europe, placing servers in icy seawater to help them cool down and consume less energy.

Microsoft’s testing of underwater data centers has actually been completed and more data centers of this type are currently being deployed, but Microsoft is also studying other new ways to cool down.

For example, many companies in the industry have used liquids to cool servers, and even before Bitcoin miners put their mining machines in a dedicated coolant.

The new liquid cooling method tested by Microsoft is not new, but the company said it is the first public cloud provider to use liquid cooling in a production environment.

Microsoft boiling liquid

Image: Microsoft

The method newly researched by the Microsoft R&D team is to use non-conductive fluorocarbon as the main component of the liquid. The boiling point of this substrate is only 50 degrees Celsius.

That is, when the temperature of the liquid reaches this temperature, it will boil and start to evaporate. After the temperature drops slowly after evaporation, it will automatically condense into liquid droplets and fall back to the special container.

For example, the processor, memory, and hard disk will be wrapped in liquid and cooled down. When the temperature exceeds 50 degrees Celsius, the liquid starts to boil and evaporate to take away the heat generated by the server.

Microsoft claims that this liquid cooling method can reduce power consumption by as much as 15% after testing, which can already reduce power consumption for large data centers.

Interestingly, the Microsoft research team also said that this liquid cooling method may also reduce the hardware failure rate because these liquids can always help the hardware isolate the air.

After the hardware is completely isolated from oxygen and humid air, it should be possible to reduce the failure rate.

Of course, since this kind of liquid cooling requires condensed steam, an external cooling device is naturally indispensable. After all, the heat generated by the server cannot accumulate in the entire computer room.

Therefore, the metal plate on the top of the container is connected to a dedicated external cooling device and then takes the heat outdoors to discharge, thereby completing the heat and cold exchange mechanism of the entire data center.

Microsoft is currently testing this liquid cooling technology in a data center in Columbia, USA, and some servers have been put into a production environment waiting to track more data. If the follow-up tests go well, Microsoft will adopt this liquid cooling technology on a large scale.