Cooling With Oil

Case Study

Sustainability_Pic7_828x440.jpgImmersed servers at Subsurface Imaging’s Houston data center

Challenge

Meet CGG Subsurface Imaging’s high-intensity computing demand while effectively managing overall power usage.

Background

Most large-scale computer systems are rack-mounted and installed in environmentally controlled data centers relying on traditional air-cooling systems. Since the heat transfer capabilities of air are very poor, they require a significant volume of cold air to remove the heat. In such configurations, the power demand of the cooling system typically equals that of the IT equipment. An increase in IT computing capacity triggers a corresponding increase in power consumption.

Solution

In 2011, our IT department conducted extensive research and analysis of alternative options to increase our computing capacity without increasing power consumption.

The solution retained is an oil-submersion cooling system for servers.

The dielectric oil-submersion technology provides the most energy-efficient cooling and lowest cost per watt in the industry.  Since oil retains 1,200 times more heat than air, it starts to cool servers at 40°C whereas air conditioning typically requires an ambient temperature of 24°C.  In addition, oil cooling has the ability to sustain up to 100 kW per tank. This compares to 30 kW per rack in traditional air-cooled environments.

IN 2012, FOLLOWING THE SUCCESSFUL 2011 PILOT PROJECT, CGG WENT FOR A FULL-SCALE PRODUCTION INSTALLATION IN ITS LARGEST DATA CENTER (HOUSTON – U.S.A.) AND HAS SINCE OPERATED THE WORLD’S LARGEST OIL IMMERSION INSTALLATION.

Results

We have been able to significantly increase our computing capacity while achieving a world-class Power Usage Effectiveness*. This translates into a very significant power consumption and carbon footprint reduction. The adoption of oil-submersion technology has in turn encouraged original equipment manufacturers to test, develop and bring to the market products that are less material and energy intensive.

* Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) is determined by dividing the amount of power entering a data center by the power used to run the computer infrastructure within it such as cooling systems.

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