Liquid Cooling for OpenPOWER: Asetek Accelerates the Performance of OpenPOWER Platforms

By Larry Vertal, Data Center Marketing, Asetek

Asetek Liquid Cooler for POWER8Asetek® joined the OpenPOWER™ Foundation in July of this year with great enthusiasm. As the world’s leading provider of liquid cooling systems for CPU and GPUs, with over 2 million units sold, Asetek knows it can bring a lot to OpenPOWER designs and enable the community to productize the highest performance systems and clusters leveraging liquid cooling for OpenPOWER.

Asetek is already engaged in delivering liquid cooling designs that accelerate the performance of OpenPOWER platforms. At the 2015 International Supercomputing Conference (ISC15) in Frankfurt, Germany, in July of this year, Asetek provided the first public showing of a liquid cooling system for POWER8 processors. Particularly interesting about this design is that it enables POWER8 server nodes to utilize the highest performing overclocked Power processors without concerns for throttling.

Given Asetek’s history in enabling Top500 HPC sites, the current cutting edge performance and expected enhancements to POWER processors will likely demonstrate a need for liquid cooling to provide non-throttling clusters with extreme rack densities.

OpenPOWER member innovations – including custom systems for large-scale data centers, workload acceleration through GPUs and advanced hardware technology exploitation – can all benefit from having a fellow member with proven leadership in CPU, GPU and overall data center liquid cooling. Asetek looks forward to being able to enable members to push their design imaginations, knowing that they have liquid cooling as a tool.

Asetek’s approach to liquid cooling is extremely flexible in adapting to different server designs and board layouts. The proven approach brings hot water for cooling directly to the high heat flux components within servers such as CPUs, GPUs and memory. Since CPUs run quite hot (153°F to 185°F) and hotter still for memory and GPUs, there is no need for expensive chillers to cool the water returning from the servers. In addition, the cooling efficiency of water (4000x that of air) allows Asetek’s RackCDU Direct-to-Chip™ (D2C) to cool with hot water. Hot water cooling allows the use of dry coolers rather than chillers. Enabling extreme Kilowatt density racks also reduces the power required for server fans. RackCDU D2C uses a distributed pumping model. The cooling plate/pump replaces the air heat sink on the CPUs or GPUs in the server. Each pump/cold plate has sufficient pumping power to cool the whole server, providing redundancy in a two or more CPU server node. Unlike centralized pumping systems which require high pressures, the pressure needed to operate the system is very low, making it an inherently more reliable system for OpenPOWER.

Asetek looks forward to continuing its involvement in the OpenPOWER Foundation, and working with fellow members to provide sustained throughput and the best performance for high-density overclocked systems.

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About Larry Vertal
Larry Vertal, AsetekLarry Vertal is tasked with data center marketing for Asetek.  Larry was Founding Director of The Green Grid and later Executive Director. He was previously Senior Strategist, Corporate Brand for Advance Micro Devices and Director of Enterprise Marketing for AMD.   Earlier, he was VP of Marketing for Conita Technologies and held a variety of positions in AT&T and NCR including Director, Strategic Relations and Director of Product Marketing.  Larry was responsible for the multiprocessor systems business at both AST Research and MAI/Basic Four Systems.  He was a founder of a number of technology start-ups in software and services.  He has provided clients and employers, from start-ups to Fortune 100 corporations, executive management, advisory and corporate development services.

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