Microsoft is taking a new approach to keeping some of its servers cool. The company shared in a blog post that it’s dunking servers in boiling liquid to keep them from overheating.
The liquid inside the tanks at Microsoft’s datecenter near the Columbia River in Washington is a type of fluid that is harmless to electronic equipment. It boils at 122 degrees Fahrenheit, which is 90 degrees lower than what’s required to boil water.
“The boiling effect, which is generated by the work the servers are doing, carries heat away from laboring computer processors. The low-temperature boil enables the servers to operate continuously at full power without risk of failure due to overheating,” Microsoft said.
The vapor that rises from the fluid rises and makes contact with a “cooled condenser” that in turn causes the vapor to become liquid. This liquid then rains down on the servers as part of a loop that keeps them cool.
According to principal hardware engineer Husam Alissa, Microsoft is the first cloud provider to operate a two-phase cooling system like this in a production environment.
Chips have become hotter and hotter over the years, requiring companies like Microsoft to come up with solutions to keep things cool.
“Air cooling is not enough,” Microsoft engineering boss Christian Belady said.
The full blog post goes much deeper into the nitty-gritty of how this all works, and it’s a good read for those interested in the finer details.
Servers are becoming more and more important at Microsoft and Xbox these days. Microsoft now operates a game-streaming service that continues to grow, while the company also signed a huge deal with the US Army for cloud technology.
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