Knights Landing: Bridging the gap between IT and infrastructure

As new technologies are made available in the HPC (High Performance Computing) environment, we are starting to see how IT and infrastructure have hit a cross-road. The two focus areas, which in the past have typically worked independent of each other, are coming together to develop solutions that meet the demands of new technology.

We are seeing this especially with some of the latest developments, such as Intel’s Knights Landing Xeon Phi processor. Built for HPC purposes, it is expected to deliver about three times the performance of its predecessor, Knights Corner. Not only does Knights Landing push the boundary for speed, it challenges existing infrastructure to support power and cooling requirements. In order to take advantage of Knights Landing’s full capabilities and increased density, IT professionals have to work closely with infrastructure engineers to design a fully-functional solution. For example, Knights Landing will put cooling at the forefront of planning conversations since traditional cooling systems struggle to handle air flow requirements of the new CPUs.

Cooling solution for next-gen chips
The good news, however, is that not all systems need to be redesigned to accommodate Knights Landing. Even though the contents inside the box are changing, those who have already implemented certain infrastructure solutions won’t need to make any changes to their equipment. For example, data centers currently using rack-agnostic technology, such as Motivair’s ChilledDoor® Rack Cooling System, won’t need to make any changes if they upgrade to Knights Landing. That’s because Motivair’s active rear door heat exchanger provides headroom and automatically adapts to next-gen chip designs since it can work with every server manufacturer, regardless of what is going on inside the box. High-end ChilledDoor® models typically used by HPC customers can handle up to 80kW per rack to provide maximum scalability. So for those who already utilize the ChilledDoor® technology, the upgrade to Knights Landing will be an easy one from a cooling perspective.

Active rear door heat exchangers allow for varied HPC rack density and Motivair’s solution removes 100% of the heat, eliminating the need for supplemental cooling. Some HPC users who experience rapid growth and require flexible, scalable cooling infrastructure, such as online retailer eBay and high-frequency trading companies, have already realized the long-term benefits associated with implementing this cooling system. At the cost of 1-5% of the overall HPC budget, users of the ChilledDoor® technology have seen 79% operating expense savings and 3.0X higher density per rack. Paired with a free cooling chiller or other chilled water plants, customers can see well above 79% energy savings.

Upgrade now for maximum savings
To anyone who is looking to upgrade to Knights Landing but has not jumped into active rear door heat exchangers, the message to the IT and infrastructure engineers is simple: Invest in a product that will allow you to maximize your compute spend and accommodate increasing rack densities. And even if you aren’t planning to upgrade for some time, you can start to see the savings now by installing a server and rack-agnostic solution that can easily cool any HPC hardware in the future.

As OEMs continue to release the next generation of CPU and GPU servers, densities will continue to rise. Whether it’s Knights Landing or the next industry advancement, invest in your infrastructure today to keep up with the technology of tomorrow.

About the ChilledDoor® Rack Cooling System
The ChilledDoor® Rack Cooling System, a product of Motivair Corporation, is a global leader in high efficiency and high density server rack cooling systems for small, medium and larger data centers. A trusted leader in developing advanced server cooling technologies, The ChilledDoor® Rack Cooling System and its ancillary support products and services provide innovative and dynamic new ways to cool both legacy and new data centers. Learn more about ChilledDoor® products and services at

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