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Jablines, France — Photo from Unsplash by @jules_bss

Water in Data Centres

How is water used in data centres?

Water is so important — without it we die, it is that simple and hard. What fascinated me is that increasingly medium to large data centres are beginning to use a great deal of water. When I started writing about artificial intelligence the last thing I expected to do was write about refrigeration circles, but here we are. After all considering supply chain all artificial intelligence needs to use data centres to some extent to run their machine learning algorithms. At least a great deal of servers, that could mean similar issues discussed here.

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  1. Condenser.
  2. Expansion device.
  3. Evaporator.
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  • “Chilled Water System. A data center cooling system commonly used in mid-to-large-sized data centers that uses chilled water to cool air being brought in by air handlers (CRAHs). Water is supplied by a chiller plant located somewhere in the facility.”
  • “Cold Aisle/Hot Aisle Design. A common form of data center server rack deployment that uses alternating rows of “cold aisles” and “hot aisles.” The cold aisles feature cold air intakes on the front of the racks, while the hot aisles consist of the hot air exhausts on the back of the racks. Hot aisles expel hot air into the air conditioning intakes to be chilled and then vented into the cold aisles. Empty racks are filled by blanking panels to prevent overheating or wasted cold air.”
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Legacy raised floor cooling. Source: Uptime Institute.
  • Computer Room Air Conditioner (CRAC). One of the most common features of any data center, CRAC units are very similar to conventional air conditioners powered by a compressor that draws air across a refrigerant-filled cooling unit. They are quite inefficient in terms of energy usage, but the equipment itself is relatively inexpensive.”
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HAR via cabinet exhaust ducts (active and passive). Photo by Uptime Institute.
  • “Critical Cooling Load. This measurement represents the total usable cooling capacity (usually expressed in watts of power) on the data center floor for the purposes of cooling servers.”
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Image from Gigabyte here presenting Asetek InRackLAAC™.
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Schematic of a Typical Data Center Evaporative Cooling System. Photo by Federal Energy Management Program.
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An overhead view of the server infrastructure in a Google data center.
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Microsoft Testing Undersea Immersion Cooling — photo from Submer
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Figure 1: Three graphs from World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice.

Written by

AI Policy and Ethics at www.nora.ai. Student at University of Copenhagen MSc in Social Data Science. All views are my own. twitter.com/AlexMoltzau

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