Data Center Liquid Cooling vs. Air Cooling

# I love pressing the F5 button. It’s so refreshing #


A Partner came today with an interesting question : For a medium seize business, what cooling solution would you propose Data Center wise?

The reason why I have posted the above picture. Because this was the first thing that came to my mind ( and a VW Beetle) when I heard the question.

In the case of a file cabinet  air moves around and the room temperature determines the cooling conditions. Same way ,all well for 1 or 2 servers ,but in the case of a full 42U Rack heat would quickly terminate your contract. Or even worse burn your fame to the ground.

For rack densities above 50kW liquid cooling becomes one of the best options , and it is just fascinating to see how it works.

This is where the interest of reducing PUE under 1.1 ,in a IT Room, reaches very high peaks .

But upon decision time between air and liquid , in my head, there was always a barricade stating instinctively that liquids and electricity are never to be mixed. Lucky for me it is actually much simpler than that.


The air-conditioning solution proposes an airflow management formula that tries to change the temperature and move it away .

These day a popular choice seems to be the middle stone, namely the Hybrid Coooling, for example a business that has grown very quickly and the data center  does not meet up the needs any more.

Hybrid is smart in this case as it can be simply  upgraded,they will deal with the heat in a very large percentage but then some air cooling is also required.


Now at this point by thinking air, liquid or hybrid ,  a customer will pretty much know what solution works better for him .

Having an idea is practical but  some basic considerations need to be oriented towards the  tasks  than can prove to be  complicated along the way ,like how the hardware is installed ,maybe  something like this ?

I think it is obvious this is wrong in so many ways !

Surprisingly many customers accept that also.

Besides the segregation of cables and a better colouring segregation , separating devices can balance the force temperature wise.

Another small subtlety is weather to buy a fully assembled / welded rack or a disassembled on?.

Describing a full analogy on Data Center cooling would take many pages and many pure mathematical calculations, that is not my intention. But from the first moment you are faced with the cooling solution question , taking in consideration budget, space and conditions can point you quickly towards a direction that fits simply your business needs.

Most of my customers imagine during the first discussion that  a cost-effective  cooling solution is either going to be expensive on the long term of not work well. That is not true, as before deciding what to buy a large / accurate set of questions needs to be asked, some time for thinking  needs to be taken and an honorable approach can make wonders.