Microsoft has shared an article demonstrating how the company is cooling its powerful data center servers by submerging them in a special fluid that’s designed to boil at 122 degrees Fahrenheit. Dubbed two-phase immersion cooling, the technique seems like a dangerous one at first glance but is actually effective in that the boiling effect carries heat away from processors and ultimately creates a closed-loop cooling system due to the interaction between rising vapors and the tank’s condensers. Two-phase immersion cooling was originally pioneered by cryptominers.
“Air cooling is not enough,” said Christian Belady, distinguished engineer and vice president of Microsoft’s datacenter advanced development group in Redmond. “That’s what’s driving us to immersion cooling, where we can directly boil off the surfaces of the chip.” Heat transfer in liquids, he noted, is orders of magnitude more efficient than air. What’s more, he added, the switch to liquid cooling brings a Moore’s Law-like mindset to the whole of the datacenter. “Liquid cooling enables us to go denser, and thus continue the Moore’s Law trend at the datacenter level,” he said.