Drafting the Perfect Liquid Cooling RFP: 3 Variables You Can’t Ignore

Drafting the Perfect Liquid Cooling RFP: 3 Variables You Can't Ignore

Liquid cooling offers an efficient solution for high-powered computing systems, outperforming traditional air cooling or immersion cooling in heat management. As data centers' power escalates, so do the thermal challenges they face. If you're contemplating liquid cooling for your high-performance computing (HPC) environments, crafting a comprehensive Request for Proposal (RFP) is crucial. This process goes beyond merely enumerating your needs—it involves understanding the intricacies of your data center and the potential capabilities of cooling solutions. To ensure your RFP is on target, consider these top three variables: Flow per kW, the CDU Approach, and the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). By taking into account these factors, your RFP will be comprehensive, positioning you to identify the most efficient and effective cooling solutions as you navigate the increasing thermal demands of today's data centers.

1. Deciphering Flow per kW

Determining the needed flow per kW is the first step in your liquid cooling RFP journey. This involves estimating the temperature and power level of your chips. For instance, lower temperatures require more flow per kW. Therefore, the hardest chips to cool, like the Intel Q series of Xeons, with their low maximum case temperature of 57 C, will require more flow.

Additionally, consider the facility water temperature available. Warmer facility water will also require more flow per kW. Remember that lower chip temperatures mean less power consumed at the chip due to lower leakage current and longer component life due to lower temperatures and less fan vibration.

Thermal resistance also plays a vital role here. It is the temperature difference by which an object or material resists a heat flow—lower thermal resistance results in better cooling efficiency and hence better performance and longevity for your chips.

2. Understanding the CDU Approach

Next, let's decipher the CDU Approach. In this context, the approach is the difference between the facility water temperature into the CDU and the technology water out to the server.

If you're dealing with higher facility water temperatures and lower chip temperatures, a lower approach is necessary. The approach is inversely proportional to the cost of the heat exchanger(s) in the CDU, so it's essential to strike a balance here. Spending less on the CDUs may result in higher power costs over the system's life.

3. Total Cost of Ownership (TCO): More Than Just Initial Costs

Finally, it would help if you considered the TCO. This isn't just about the initial cost of the CDUs, manifolds, Connectors, and cold plates. Also factor in the lifetime cost of electricity for servers, CDUs, and heat rejection mechanisms like Chillers, cooling towers, and dry coolers.

Consider installation costs, including plumbing, leak testing, commissioning, and ongoing maintenance for CDUs, coolant, connectors, and filters. The latter involves filter replacement, coolant testing, and maintenance. Additionally, account for any costs related to downtime and necessary software updates for CDU and server temperature monitoring.

Furthermore, assess the ease of commissioning and deployment, maintenance needs, and the expected cooling system uptime. These factors all contribute to the TCO and should be carefully evaluated in your RFP.

As you prepare your RFP, let your vendors know about your chip temperatures, TDP, facility water temperature, and your primary concerns: energy savings, uptime, or TCO. This information will guide them toward offering you the right solution.

In conclusion, a well-prepared RFP is your ticket to a liquid cooling solution that meets your data center's specific needs. So, before you submit your RFP, make sure you have considered these three critical variables!

If you need additional guidance, use the calculator at www.chilldyne.com/calculator to estimate how many nodes you can cool, or contact our team for more personalized advice. And if you're looking for the assurance of fail-safe, leak-proof liquid cooling solutions, Chilldyne's Direct-to-Chip (DTC) cooling "negative pressure" technology offers a reliable and efficient answer. Tailored to meet your needs, our solutions deliver peace of mind and optimal performance.