Motivair Cool News

May 19th, 2022

Liquid Cooling Benefits in ESG & Data Center Operations

Business leaders and Board of Directors are feeling the pressure to improve their impact on the world. That’s not just profits, but the measurable effect from an Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) standpoint.

These new ESG goals are directly impacting the decision-making process of leading technology companies, cloud service providers (CSP), and the data center industry as it is faced with calls for improved return on capital and reduced environmental impacts.

Furthermore, these companies have grown dependent on advanced CPUs and GPUs made by companies like Intel, AMD and Nvidia to leverage the benefits of High-Performance Computing (HPC) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to both run their businesses and stay competitive in their respective markets.

Advanced processors are now cresting over the 300 watts threshold where traditional air cooling of servers becomes challenging and direct liquid cooling becomes the method of choice for thermal design guides and system architectures.

With chip roadmaps already forecasting processor powers at 750 watts and rumors of 1,000 watts in development, CIOs and CTO’s will soon see liquid cooling as a standard part of their technology portfolio.

The timing of all this could be considered a convenient irony, because when done together direct liquid cooling can help enterprises achieve their ESG priorities and pave the way for the use of advanced processors to their competitive advantage.

ESG are a set of environmental, social and governance standards for company operations that can impact its ability to create sustainable long-term value. From an investor and Board of Directors standpoint, a clear line has been drawn in the sand: What are companies doing to be more sustainable?

“The investors in our survey sent a clear message: if companies take the right actions on ESG, investors will support it, but they want to be brought along for the ride, however bumpy it might be. That means being upfront about your prospects for long-term value creation and the ways in which you’ll manage risks, including unexpected ones,” PwC said in its 2021 Global Investor Survey. “When you tell investors and other stakeholders how you plan to reset your strategy, reimagine your reporting, reinvent your operations, and drive toward new outcomes, you build trust while creating sustainable value for the long term.”

According to a November 2021 Statista report, digital transformation spending in the U.S. is expected to reach $1.8 trillion in 2022 and $2.8 trillion by 2025. This dramatically underscores the need for companies to keep a competitive edge with new digital technologies.

Companies are witnessing a turning point now with the acceleration of digital transformation initiatives and ESG. Executives, according to PwC, said it is a key driver in 2022 and sustainability is integral to long-term planning.

“This year many plan to build on those investments and, with talent in short supply, it will be all the more critical to get the most out of digital investments,” PwC said in its January report. “Digital capability is at the heart of execution, whether it’s increasing supply chain resilience, rolling out new products and services for consumers or shifting to investor-grade ESG reporting in preparation of new disclosure requirements.

Investors are now looking for companies to act:

  • Nearly 80% said ESG was an important factor in their investment decision-making
  • Almost 70% thought ESG performance measures and targets should be included in executive pay
  • About 50% showed willingness to divest from companies that didn’t take sufficient action on ESG issues

Many of the world’s largest organizations already are leveraging advanced technologies like Cloud Service providers (CSPs), Artificial Intelligence (AI), and more to support their ESG programs and generate measurable impact.

Most high-performance computing occurs in large co-location data centers and “the Cloud.” These enterprises have been challenged in recent years to reduce their energy footprint, water consumption, and noise pollution. They are the ideal facilities that can benefit from the broader adoption of direct liquid cooling.

But, as businesses embrace advancing technology to deliver new services and enhanced customer experiences, they will hit an unfortunate trade off: Increased energy demands and supply chain constraints.

The massive rise in data creation, consumption, and use requires more power to operate these systems, and more water to cool and operate facilities that generate large amounts of noise pollution.

But with direct liquid cooling, data centers have a chance to alleviate these issues and invest in more sustainable, reliable cooling technology.

Leveraging the full capability of direct liquid cooling to improve ESG requires a broader understanding of the server and data center ecosystem or what is often referred to as an end-to-end approach.

Installing the latest and greatest piece of technology will only get you so far from a profitability and performance standpoint. You need to understand the whole ecosystem and plan for your cooling needs now and into the future to truly gain the competitive advantage of liquid cooling. That means:

  • Understanding your compute hardware
  • Analyzing existing infrastructure limitations
  • Determining fluid system considerations
  • Bolstering supply chain resiliency and quality control measures
  • Ensuring routine serviceability for uptime and resiliency

While liquid cooling for computers has been around for decades, until recently, it was primary used for advanced supercomputers or fringe projects.

Direct Liquid Cooling for computer chips uses a closed loop of fluid that circulates continuously to remove heat which is about 10x more efficient than using traditional methods such as air cooling.

Introducing an aggressive model of liquid cooling can alleviate and reduce your dependency on traditional air-cooling methods.

The benefits of liquid cooling include:

  • Conducts heat better than air and handle more compute-intensive applications.
  • Uses less water than traditional air-cooling methods.
  • Reduces your data center footprint, allowing for more compute deployments

Direct liquid cooling, utilized in an end-to-end solution, can create a domino-effect of less dependency on traditional air-cooling systems like chillers, condensers, and CRACS/CRAHs. It will leverage coolant distribution units, cold plates, and manifolds, enabling direct-to-chip cooling rather than cooling the ambient air in a data center.

That can lead to a reduction in water consumption, energy usage, and noise pollution. For shareholders, that’s a measurable return on investment when looking at a company’s ESG.

As technology continues to advance, supporting infrastructure must find a way to keep up – not just from a profit standpoint, but also an ESG standpoint.

Direct liquid cooling for data centers can be an energy-efficient approach that can help companies reach measurable ESG goals. This will be increasingly important as compute, storage, and AI workloads expand and continue to accelerate business operations.

Connect with your local Motivair product specialist today.