[17-May-2024 Thedotmagazine.com] Speed POS have partnered with ExxonMobil to create SPEED TANK in Vietnam. At first glance, seeing servers immersed in liquid is disconcerting. But the benefits include reduced costs and greater efficiency, and a much smaller carbon footprint. And, in fact, this approach to cooling isn’t new. So let’s call it the rebirth of the cool.

Fishes drift around in the tank that fills the back wall of a room at the newly opened Speed POS Experience Centre. They’re likely wondering why everyone is staring down at the SPEED TANK full of computer servers immersed in liquid, and not at them. 

It’s disconcerting for onlookers at first too. Electric and water don’t normally go together – quite the opposite. So looking at the servers, naturally, sparks a pang of anxiety. 

“That’s not water,” Luan Khanh helpfully points out. In fact, the fluid, supplied by ExxonMobil, is non-conductive and it’s helping to cool the servers, with lots of other benefits besides. 

The Rebirth Of The Cool

While it may seem like a novelty – finding a way to solve an inessential problem – or maybe a new hair-brained approach to reducing the heat generated by data centers, it’s neither. 

With artificial intelligence and machine learning driving higher computational workloads, their energy use is growing at an alarming rate – consuming something like 2% of the global electricity supply in 2021.

Liquid immersion is a way to dramatically reduce energy.

But the approach isn’t new. Although it was first applied to computers by IBM in the 1960s, the process of using dielectric fluids for thermal management is even older than that. In fact, it had first been applied as early as 1887, and the first patent submitted in 1899.

SPEED TANK Is Redefining Data Storage

But we’re here for the unveiling of the SPEED TANK, which the team from Speed POS designed using the liquid supplied by ExxonMobile. “With SPEED TANK, we’re really redefining data storage,” Luan Khanh goes on, as the fish continue to eye him suspiciously. 

“Liquid cooling isn’t just a more efficient way of cooling – compared to traditional air cooling,” Luan Khanh continues as he watches the liquid bubble around the servers. “Besides costing less, it can also help hardware to last longer.”

“Immersing the servers in this liquid gives us unparalleled performance and drastically reduced energy consumption – and so also carbon footprint.”

But, Luan Khanh says, this kind of data solution has lots of other benefits too. “We can deploy the system easily, and companies can use raw space without needing to, for example, raise the floor, as they would do with traditional cooling systems.”

Alternatively, SPEED TANK can integrate into existing data centers or warehouses, “which means minimum retrofitting.”

“And there’s no moving parts or vibrations – like you get with traditional air cooling systems – and because the servers are immersed they don’t get dusty, or get exposed to moisture or temperature changes that can affect the lifespan of the servers,” he adds.

Staying cool never felt easier.