Appro Heats Up HPC Portfolio with Warm Water Cooling

By Michael Feldman

October 31, 2012

Air-cooled servers may soon go the way of the single-core CPU. In high performance computing datacenters, the hottest new trend in energy efficiency is warm water cooling. IBM, Eurotech, and a handful of other vendors have paved the way with this technology and now Appro has announced its own solution in an attempt to set itself apart from the competition.

Warm water cooling is benefiting from a confluence of industry trends that have raised the profile of the technology. Especially for the hotter, denser HPC systems that are being shoehorned into datacenters these days, warm water technology can offer an optimal solution, balancing somewhat higher up-front cost with a much lower lifecycle cost.

Compared to traditionally air cooled systems, liquid cooling (at any temperature) offers better energy efficiency, thus lowering the power bill. That’s because water has much better thermal properties than air, requiring a lot less of it to cool a given piece of hardware. Using warm water instead of cool water has the additional advantage of doing away with a water chiller unit, greatly simplying the plumbing, not to mention reducing installation costs.

While warm water doesn’t have the chilling capacity of cold water, as long as you get liquid in close proximity to the hardware, it can cool even the hottest processors. Even water as warm as 45C (113F) can effectively cool a modern processor. And like cool water setups, the warmer outlet water from the servers can be reused to heat the datacenter and surrounding facilities.

The other development that is lighting a fire under this technology is the proliferation of high-wattage chips. The continued demand for performance means server chips are continuing to push the power envelope. Fast, high performance x86 CPUs can easily reach 130 watts. In a dense two-socket (or worse, four-socket) system, heat can build up quickly – all the more so when you consider more memory chips are needed to feed the growing number of cores on these processors.

In the HPC realm, an additional burden has been added with the advent of accelerators: GPUs and soon the Intel Xeon Phi. Although the chips themselves aren’t much hotter than a top-bin CPU, the inclusion of multiple gigabytes of graphics memory on an accelerator card pushes these devices well past the 200 watt realm. Once you start gluing a couple of these together on the same motherboard, along with their CPU hosts and main memory, all of a sudden you have over a kilowatt of hardware in a very small space.

It is in this environment that Appro has decided to offer its warm water cooling option, which it has dubbed Xtreme-Cool. The company claims it will reduce energy consumption by 50 percent and provide a PUE below 1.1. According the Appro, their cooling gear is designed to fold seamlessly into the company’s Xtreme-X blade system, which previously was offered only with standard air cooling or chilled water setups. But the Xtreme-Cool design is such that it will actually fit into any standard computer rack.

It’s especially geared for the dense blade designs available in Xtreme-X, the Appro platform that features dual-processor nodes, 80 of which can be fit into a standard 42U rack. Since the company will be offering a Xeon Phi option for these blades when the chips become available, there will be an extra incentive for customers to consider the warm water option. GPU accelerators will be supported as well.

Xtreme-Cool is different from most of the warm water cooling solutions out there, inasmuch as it’s built for standard rack enclosures. The heart of the system is the RackCDU (rack cooling device unit), a radiator-like component that sits on the inside of the rack enclosure. Two sets of tubes run from the unit to the server blade. One set feeds the warm water to the servers; the other transfers the server-heated water back to the RackCDU for cooling to ambient temperatures.

The tubes that go into the server wrap around the cold plates on top of the processor and memory components, the primary sources of heat on the motherboard. Dripless interconnectors are used for reliability. Appro does the entire installation, so from the facility manager’s point of view, it’s plug and play.

As mentioned before, Xtreme-Cool can be adapted to standard, non-Appro racks. Most other solutions, like that of IBM’s and Eurotech’s, are custom designs, architected to fit their particular blade systems. For example, the IBM solution, which is being used in SuperMUC, a three-petaflop supercomputer cluster constructed from iDataPlex servers, uses the company’s own hot water cooling system.

That one consists of custom-fitted aluminum plates that lay over the server motherboard. This design actually does a somewhat better job at extracting the heat – Appro says their solution will only extract about 80 percent of it – but at a cost that is considerably higher.

Appro is trying to hit the sweet spot here, designing a system that does a good job at heat extraction, but at a price point that they believe will deliver a faster return on investment than more custom designs. In truth, the company has not specified the price premium on the Xtreme-Cool option yet, but according to Appro marketing director Maria McLaughlin it will be “much cheaper than the proprietary systems.”

Xtreme-Cool systems won’t start shipping until the first quarter of 2013, but Appro will be demonstrating the product at the Supercomputing Conference (SC12), on November 12 to 15.

Subscribe to HPCwire's Weekly Update!

Be the most informed person in the room! Stay ahead of the tech trends with industy updates delivered to you every week!

Scientists Conduct First Quantum Simulation of Atomic Nucleus

May 23, 2018

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., May 23, 2018—Scientists at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory are the first to successfully simulate an atomic nucleus using a quantum computer. The results, published in Ph Read more…

By Rachel Harken, ORNL

Pattern Computer – Startup Claims Breakthrough in ‘Pattern Discovery’ Technology

May 23, 2018

If it weren’t for the heavy-hitter technology team behind start-up Pattern Computer, which emerged from stealth today in a live-streamed event from San Francisco, one would be tempted to dismiss its claims of inventing Read more…

By John Russell

Intel, Micro Debut Quad-Level Cell NAND Flash

May 22, 2018

Chipmakers continue to gear designs toward AI and other demanding cloud workloads that take advantage of datacenter flash storage capacity. To that end, memory specialist Micron Technology Inc. began shipping compact sol Read more…

By George Leopold

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

HPC and AI Convergence is Accelerating New Levels of Intelligence

Data analytics is the most valuable tool in the digital marketplace – so much so that organizations are employing high performance computing (HPC) capabilities to rapidly collect, share, and analyze endless streams of data. Read more…

IBM Accelerated Insights

Mastering the Big Data Challenge in Cognitive Healthcare

Patrick Chain, genomics researcher at Los Alamos National Laboratory, posed a question in a recent blog: What if a nurse could swipe a patient’s saliva and run a quick genetic test to determine if the patient’s sore throat was caused by a cold virus or a bacterial infection? Read more…

Japan Meteorological Agency Takes Delivery of Pair of Crays

May 21, 2018

Cray has supplied two identical Cray XC50 supercomputers to the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) in northwestern Tokyo. Boasting more than 18 petaflops combined peak computing capacity, the new systems will extend the a Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Pattern Computer – Startup Claims Breakthrough in ‘Pattern Discovery’ Technology

May 23, 2018

If it weren’t for the heavy-hitter technology team behind start-up Pattern Computer, which emerged from stealth today in a live-streamed event from San Franci Read more…

By John Russell

Japan Meteorological Agency Takes Delivery of Pair of Crays

May 21, 2018

Cray has supplied two identical Cray XC50 supercomputers to the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) in northwestern Tokyo. Boasting more than 18 petaflops combine Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

ASC18: Final Results Revealed & Wrapped Up

May 17, 2018

It was an exciting week at ASC18 in Nanyang, China. The student teams braved extreme heat, extremely difficult applications, and extreme competition in order to cross the cluster competition finish line. The gala awards ceremony took place on Wednesday. The auditorium was packed with student teams, various dignitaries, the media, and other interested parties. So what happened? Read more…

By Dan Olds

Spring Meetings Underscore Quantum Computing’s Rise

May 17, 2018

The month of April 2018 saw four very important and interesting meetings to discuss the state of quantum computing technologies, their potential impacts, and th Read more…

By Alex R. Larzelere

Quantum Network Hub Opens in Japan

May 17, 2018

Following on the launch of its Q Commercial quantum network last December with 12 industrial and academic partners, the official Japanese hub at Keio University is now open to facilitate the exploration of quantum applications important to science and business. The news comes a week after IBM announced that North Carolina State University was the first U.S. university to join its Q Network. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Democratizing HPC: OSC Releases Version 1.3 of OnDemand

May 16, 2018

Making HPC resources readily available and easier to use for scientists who may have less HPC expertise is an ongoing challenge. Open OnDemand is a project by t Read more…

By John Russell

PRACE 2017 Annual Report: Exascale Aspirations; Industry Collaboration; HPC Training

May 15, 2018

The Partnership for Advanced Computing in Europe (PRACE) today released its annual report showcasing 2017 activities and providing a glimpse into thinking about Read more…

By John Russell

US Forms AI Brain Trust

May 11, 2018

Amid calls for a U.S. strategy for promoting AI development, the Trump administration is forming a senior-level panel to help coordinate government and industry research efforts. The Select Committee on Artificial Intelligence was announced Thursday (May 10) during a White House summit organized by the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). Read more…

By George Leopold

MLPerf – Will New Machine Learning Benchmark Help Propel AI Forward?

May 2, 2018

Let the AI benchmarking wars begin. Today, a diverse group from academia and industry – Google, Baidu, Intel, AMD, Harvard, and Stanford among them – releas Read more…

By John Russell

How the Cloud Is Falling Short for HPC

March 15, 2018

The last couple of years have seen cloud computing gradually build some legitimacy within the HPC world, but still the HPC industry lies far behind enterprise I Read more…

By Chris Downing

Russian Nuclear Engineers Caught Cryptomining on Lab Supercomputer

February 12, 2018

Nuclear scientists working at the All-Russian Research Institute of Experimental Physics (RFNC-VNIIEF) have been arrested for using lab supercomputing resources to mine crypto-currency, according to a report in Russia’s Interfax News Agency. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Nvidia Responds to Google TPU Benchmarking

April 10, 2017

Nvidia highlights strengths of its newest GPU silicon in response to Google's report on the performance and energy advantages of its custom tensor processor. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Deep Learning at 15 PFlops Enables Training for Extreme Weather Identification at Scale

March 19, 2018

Petaflop per second deep learning training performance on the NERSC (National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center) Cori supercomputer has given climate Read more…

By Rob Farber

AI Cloud Competition Heats Up: Google’s TPUs, Amazon Building AI Chip

February 12, 2018

Competition in the white hot AI (and public cloud) market pits Google against Amazon this week, with Google offering AI hardware on its cloud platform intended Read more…

By Doug Black

US Plans $1.8 Billion Spend on DOE Exascale Supercomputing

April 11, 2018

On Monday, the United States Department of Energy announced its intention to procure up to three exascale supercomputers at a cost of up to $1.8 billion with th Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Lenovo Unveils Warm Water Cooled ThinkSystem SD650 in Rampup to LRZ Install

February 22, 2018

This week Lenovo took the wraps off the ThinkSystem SD650 high-density server with third-generation direct water cooling technology developed in tandem with par Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Leading Solution Providers

HPC and AI – Two Communities Same Future

January 25, 2018

According to Al Gara (Intel Fellow, Data Center Group), high performance computing and artificial intelligence will increasingly intertwine as we transition to Read more…

By Rob Farber

Google Chases Quantum Supremacy with 72-Qubit Processor

March 7, 2018

Google pulled ahead of the pack this week in the race toward "quantum supremacy," with the introduction of a new 72-qubit quantum processor called Bristlecone. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPE Wins $57 Million DoD Supercomputing Contract

February 20, 2018

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) today revealed details of its massive $57 million HPC contract with the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). The deal calls for HP Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

CFO Steps down in Executive Shuffle at Supermicro

January 31, 2018

Supermicro yesterday announced senior management shuffling including prominent departures, the completion of an audit linked to its delayed Nasdaq filings, and Read more…

By John Russell

Deep Learning Portends ‘Sea Change’ for Oil and Gas Sector

February 1, 2018

The billowing compute and data demands that spurred the oil and gas industry to be the largest commercial users of high-performance computing are now propelling Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Nvidia Ups Hardware Game with 16-GPU DGX-2 Server and 18-Port NVSwitch

March 27, 2018

Nvidia unveiled a raft of new products from its annual technology conference in San Jose today, and despite not offering up a new chip architecture, there were still a few surprises in store for HPC hardware aficionados. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Hennessy & Patterson: A New Golden Age for Computer Architecture

April 17, 2018

On Monday June 4, 2018, 2017 A.M. Turing Award Winners John L. Hennessy and David A. Patterson will deliver the Turing Lecture at the 45th International Sympo Read more…

By Staff

Part One: Deep Dive into 2018 Trends in Life Sciences HPC

March 1, 2018

Life sciences is an interesting lens through which to see HPC. It is perhaps not an obvious choice, given life sciences’ relative newness as a heavy user of H Read more…

By John Russell

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
Share This