PROCESSING

B700 DLC supercomputers

17 November 2011

Bull

Bull has launched the bullx B700 DLC (Direct Liquid Cooling) supercomputers, a new series of Bull blade servers that reduce data centre cooling requirements and energy consumption.

The amount of electricity needed to power data centres – often running to several megawatts for the very largest facilities – is the biggest limiting factor for processing power today. In the ideal data centre, the only energy needed would be that consumed by the servers; giving a perfect PUE PUE (Power Usage Effectiveness) is the industry-standard energy efficiency indicator established by the Green Grid consortium. It measures the ratio between the energy used by the whole data centre and by the servers within it. In practice, a data centre uses other electrical devices, especially the air conditioning system, resulting in a typical PUE ratio of around 1.8.

First-stage optimisation based on Bull’s Cool Cabinet Door technology can bring the PUE down to 1.4, with no need to modify computing hardware. With its DLC technology, Bull has managed to reduce the PUE to less than 1.1.

In order to improve the overall energy efficiency of the data center, Bull’s R&D teams have radically redesigned the server, to ensure that the heat generated by the main components is drawn out by a liquid, running as close as possible to the source of that heat. This principle of  DLC is at the heart of the new bullx B700 DLC series of supercomputers: cooling happens inside the blade itself, via direct contact between heat-generating components (processors, memory chips…) and a cold plate in which heat-exchanger fluid is circulating.

What’s more, with processors running at over 50° and memory and SSD disks at over 40°, the technology developed by Bull only needs water at room temperature to cool the hardware: so it is no longer necessary to create cold water, which saves a great deal of electricity and results in a PUE of less than 1.1 under normal operating conditions.

Finally, DLC technology can be used to cool up to 80kW per rack compared with 40kW currently, which will enable forthcoming generations of ultra-dense multi-core processors to be integrated into these systems.

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