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Types of cooling for data center

There are different types of cooling present for the data center but few data cooling method is commonly considered while building a data center i.e. immersion cooling, liquid cooling, and air cooling are three distinct approaches to cooling data centers, each with its own advantages and considerations. Here’s a comparison of these data center cooling methods:

Air Cooling: (Most Common)

  • Advantages: Air cooling is widely used and relatively straightforward to implement. It does not require significant infrastructure modifications and is generally more cost-effective compared to liquid cooling methods. Air cooling also provides compatibility with standard IT equipment.
  • Considerations: Air cooling may have limitations in cooling high-density environments effectively. It may struggle to maintain optimal temperatures in areas with high power usage or heat generation. Air cooling can result in higher energy consumption due to the need for additional airflow and air conditioning units.
Image Credit:stackinfra.com

Liquid Cooling: (Cost-effective)

  • Advantages: Liquid cooling, both direct-to-chip and indirect methods, offers enhanced cooling efficiency and enables the handling of higher heat loads and higher-density computing. It can significantly reduce energy consumption by more efficiently removing heat from the IT equipment. Liquid cooling also allows for more precise temperature control and potentially quieter operation by eliminating the need for traditional fans.
  • Considerations: Liquid cooling requires additional infrastructure and careful planning for liquid distribution, leakage prevention, and compatibility with hardware. It may involve higher upfront costs and maintenance considerations. Implementing liquid cooling may also require expertise in fluid dynamics and specialized equipment.
Image Credit:uptimeinstitute.com

Immersion Cooling: (The Future)

  • Advantages: Immersion cooling provides even higher cooling efficiency and heat dissipation compared to other methods. By submerging the IT equipment in a non-conductive liquid, it enables direct contact cooling, resulting in lower component temperatures. Immersion cooling is particularly effective for high-density computing environments and can significantly reduce energy consumption.
  • Considerations: Immersion cooling requires specialized equipment designed for submerged environments. The immersion fluids must be carefully selected, and compatibility with hardware components should be ensured. Maintenance and servicing can be more complex due to the submerged nature of the equipment. Immersion cooling may also have specific regulatory and safety considerations.
Image Credit:datacenterknowledge.com

The choice of cooling method depends on the specific requirements of the data center, including power densities, scalability needs, energy efficiency goals, budget constraints, and available expertise. Air cooling remains the most commonly used method due to its simplicity and cost-effectiveness. Liquid cooling, including direct-to-chip and indirect methods, offers improved cooling performance for higher-density deployments. Immersion cooling provides the highest cooling efficiency but requires specialized equipment and considerations for hardware compatibility and maintenance. As technology advances and energy efficiency becomes increasingly important, liquid cooling and immersion cooling are gaining attention as viable options for specific data center applications.

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