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We're considering to equip out server farm with water cooled rack doors, similar to

since this is a pretty specific type of hardware, it's hard to find any information on those things that is independent from vendors.

In the most simple setting, we would buy a single read-door-cooled rack connected to a Coolant Distribution Unit (CDU) that provides about ~20 kW of cooling capacity. In this rack we would like to deploy

  • option 1: 3 Blade enclosures (x16 nodes) or
  • option 2: 2 enclosures + several GPU nodes

Both options will produce about 17 kW of heat. All dimensionality questions aside (water/room temperature, water flow, pressure, etc), does anyone of you have experience with such cooling rack doors and could share how well they works in a room that has approx. 20°C air temperature? The vendors promise t_out = t_in, but I'm curious whether it holds true in case of a really hot hardware. My concerns include:

  • the heat is not uniformly distributed over the door area, since the blades have those hot spots where the fans are blowing lots of hot air
  • how strong does a cooling door slow down the air flow? isn't there a chance of air congestion?
  • is it possible for the CDU to adapt to changes in the room temperature? on a hot summer day, the room temperature may increase by a few degrees, so that it would be nice to have t_out < t_in.

The alternative is to set up a proper water-cooled rack that is completely closed and that pumps chilled air in front of the computers. however, those are typically somewhat more expensive. that's why I'm interested in your opinions on the read-door-cooling in the first place. Especially in case of very hot computers.

Thanks!

  • Will this be in a data center environment? Are you space constrained? – toppledwagon May 16 '14 at 20:19
  • it's a designated room of about 80 m^2 with no windows and a single AC (pretty weak, perhaps ~20 kW or so to keep a constant room temperature). there's a water supply that has enough capacity to provide cooling for ~100 kW. there are no strong space constraints. – Pavel May 16 '14 at 22:20
  • I'd recommend that you use multiple racks. No need to put everything in one small area. Spread out the load. It'll be much easier to deal with from a cooling stand point. – toppledwagon May 17 '14 at 4:45
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In my experience yes the doors work very well. I have only worked with the doors from IBM on their iDataPlex racks but they work great.

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    This is a comment, not an answer. – JakeGould May 16 '14 at 21:31
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    Yes it is both. The question was do the water cooled doors work well with blades or GPU's. My answer is yes they do. But it is also a comment or rather an opinion really as this is not a technical question so all answers will be subjective. – John May 16 '14 at 21:52
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    This really isn't much of an answer. Is there really nothing else you can say? – Michael Hampton May 16 '14 at 22:07
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    If you want to make this into an useful answer, you should at least add some data, like how much heat the equipment generated and how well the doors were able to handle it. – Massimo May 16 '14 at 22:49
  • @John You need to provide real world specifics as to why the doors are great. – JakeGould May 17 '14 at 0:15

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