Lenovo today announced a set of cooling technologies, dubbed Neptune, that include direct to node (DTN) warm water cooling, rear door heat exchanger (RDHX), and hybrid solutions that combine air and liquid cooling. Lenovo says the three cooling techniques are akin to the three tips of the mythical Roman God Neptune’s famous trident – hence the product’s name. With a bit of playful marketing, Lenovo included an interview the mythical god extolling its namesake technologies’ virtues as part of the announcement (excerpt near end of article).
More prosaically, Neptune technologies are said to enable data centers to run up to 50 percent more efficiently while maintaining a dense footprint. Today’s announcement was made on a Lenovo blog and Neptune will be showcased at ISC 2018 next week. Lenovo has been developing DTN liquid-cooled systems since 2012 and cited its ThinkSystem SD650 as an example of effective use of its cooling technology; it uses warm (50°C) water to cool the CPUs, PCIe drives and voltage regulators.
“Because the ThinkSystem SD650 servers are fan-less, and do not require water chillers, they operate at lower temperatures compared to standard air-cooled systems. That is because water conducts heat more efficiently than air. This means customers can run Xeon Scalable processors up to 240W+, where traditional air-cooled systems would be limited to 165W, thus delivering greater performance with 30-40% lower datacenter power consumption,” reported the company on the blogpost.
As described by Lenovo, the RDHX is essentially a big radiator – just like in a car – attached to the rear door of the rack that absorbs the heat discharged from standard air-cooled systems. “This process diminishes the hot air expelled into the “hot aisle,” reducing overall air-conditioning costs and allowing slightly improved system performance.”
The last prong of the trident is: “hybrid cooling, which will blend liquid and air cooling within the same system in the near future. Combined with our Energy Aware Runtime (EAR) software, which can dynamically throttle a CPU and memory as needed, Lenovo’s Neptune technologies deliver the flexibility to optimize the workload for either energy or performance.”
Lenovo notes power usage efficiency (PUE) is increasingly a key metric. PUE describes how efficiently a computer data center uses energy; specifically, how much energy is used by the computing equipment in contrast to cooling and other overhead. PUE is calculated as total facility power divided by total IT power, with an ideal score being 1.0. Air-cooled systems typically have a PUE of 1.5 to 2.0, according to Lenovo, whereas a RDHX solution have a PUE of 1.2- 1.4. A DTN solution like the ThinkSystem SD650 has a PUE of less than 1.1. Link to blog: https://www.lenovoxperience.com/#!/newsDetail/283yi044hzgcdv7snkrmmx9onr1g8a429hcnzkmbannz3clp
Back to the playful marketing
In today’s blog, Lenovo reported, “Neptune, the Roman god of the sea and of horses, has signed on as the official ‘spokesgod’ for Lenovo’s liquid cooling technologies in the data center, and has agreed to lend his name to Lenovo’s liquid cooling endeavor. We were able to catch up with Neptune to ask him a few questions about this first-of-its-kind arrangement.” Here is a brief except:
Isn’t it ungod-like to commercialize your name?
Neptune: “Seriously? Every February I have to see Cupid’s diapered butt festooned on everything associated with Valentine’s Day. So, no, not ungod-like. Besides, I believe in Lenovo’s Neptune approach. Did you know that they even have software that monitors power consumption from the chassis down to the system component level? They call it Energy Aware Runtime (EAR) and it can even throttle the frequency of a processor based on the workload.”
Link to rest of the “interview” with Neptune: https://www.lenovoxperience.com/#!/newsDetail/283yi044hzgcdv7snkrmmx9o4mqsnh5kty166o9fd06hd1a7