Nov 17, 2020

Lenovo and Isotope collaborate on new edge solution

edge computing
Data Centres
hpc
AI
Joanna England
3 min
Computing and cooling technology leaders have joined forces to deliver a ground-breaking new HPC micro data centre solution
Computing and cooling technology leaders have joined forces to deliver a ground-breaking new HPC micro data centre solution...

Fortune Global 500 company, Lenovo has teamed up with Iceotope, a leader in chassis-level liquid cooling technologies, Avnet, a global technology solutions provider and microdata centre specialists Schneider Electric, to innovate a chassis-level immersion-cooled HPC micro data centre.

The scalable hardware ranges from 24U <5kW solution to multiple 46kW-rack HPC installations regardless of environment, location or climatic conditions. It also supports the highest performing Intel SKUs and provides uncompromised performance and sustained high-grade heat recovery. 

Using a Lenovo ThinkSystem SR670 server, which is integrated with Iceotope's liquid-cooled chassis and Schneider Electric's NetShelter liquid-cooled enclosure by Avnet, the micro data centre offers Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML) and High-Performance Computing (HPC).

Workloads can also be used near the location of data generation, regardless of how harsh or hostile the environment.

Edge cooling

The fluid edge 24U liquid-cooled HPC server was developed by integrating the hardware with Iceotope's Chassis system. The servers are partially immersed in a small amount of dielectric coolant precision. Because no front-to-back air cooling and bottom-to-top immersion constraints are required, the device is much more compact and energy-efficient. 

Developers have also removed the need for fans or moving parts, resulting in less servicing and near-silent operation in any location. Critical IT components are also isolated from the environment, making the microdata centre impervious to dust, gas and humidity. 

Steven Carlini, VP Innovation and Data Centre, Schneider Electric described the innovation as “highly intensive” with “efficient compute capability that drop into applications from the edge to large scale HPC's. The ability to bring these ready-to-deploy liquid cooled solutions to market proves the strength of the Avnet, Schneider Electric and Iceotope partnership.”

Harsh environments

The new micro data centres are designed to be used in remote locations and harsh, edge environments. They also contain Schneider Electric's EcoStruxure IT, a cloud-based DCIM that enables remote monitoring and management capability. Essentially, the solution can deliver actionable real-time recommendations to optimise infrastructure performance and mitigate risk.

David Craig, CEO Iceotope commented on the new solution, saying, “Iceotope is dedicated to ensuring the durability, reliability, efficiency, and long-term viability of Fluid Edge facilities, where air cooled approaches have a limited future. Partnering with Lenovo to bring the Ku:l Micro DC to life has accelerated our capability to provide a proven and warranty-backed, chassis-level immersion cooled HPC design solution to this expanding market.”

Speaking about which industries will benefit from the technology, Scott MacDonald, President of Avnet Integrated Solutions added; “Companies looking to deploy IT in edge and other remote locations demand a non-disruptive, conventional form factor, without the need for a cost-prohibitive IT container to be installed on site to support a few enterprise grade servers.”

Iceotope's chassis-level liquid cooling solutions – with precision delivery technologies – are engineered to cool the whole IT stack, in every use case, from the Cloud to the Edge. By removing the need for fans and air-cooling infrastructure, Iceotope's technologies operate in near silence — bringing a game-changing reduction in energy and water consumption, and significant cost reductions in the design, build and operation of data centres.

Share article

Jun 6, 2021

Unlocking the next chapter of the digital revolution

Dell
servers
IT
Technology
Tim Loake
5 min
Tim Loake, Vice President, Infrastructure Solutions Group, UK at Dell Technologies highlights the importance of often-overlooked digital infrastructure

As the world retreated to a hybrid world in 2020, our reliance on technology took the spotlight. But it was the jazzy new social and video calling platforms that took the encore. Behind the scenes, our servers worked overtime, keeping us connected and maintaining the drumbeat of always-on newly digital services.  Let’s take a moment to pay our respect to the unsung technology heroes of the pandemic – the often-forgotten IT infrastructure keeping us connected come what may. After all, as we look ahead to more resilient futures, they will be playing a central role.

Servers could be likened to our plumbing – vital to well-functioning homes but rarely top of mind so long as it is functioning. Never seen, rarely heard – our servers do all the graft with little praise. But it is essential to reflect on the incremental advances in GPU and CPU power, which have paved the way for new workloads that previously were not possible. Chatbots and native language processing that provide essential customer touchpoints for businesses across the retail and banking sectors rely on powerful servers. They also keep businesses competitive and customers happy in an always-on world. 

Tim Loake, Vice President, Infrastructure Solutions Group, UK at Dell Technologies
Tim Loake, Vice President, Infrastructure Solutions Group, UK at Dell Technologies

Serving workplace transformation

But, as businesses grappled with pandemic disruptions, the focus was largely on adopting connected devices – and awe at the rapid increase in the datasphere.  As they reined in their budgets and attempted to do more with less, one aspect was perhaps overlooked—those hard working servers.

When it came to building resilience into a newly remote workforce, the initial concern was focused on the device endpoints – keeping employees productive.  Many companies did not initially consider whether they had the server infrastructure to enable the entire workforce to log in remotely at the same time. As a result, many experienced a plethora of teething problems: virtual office crashes, long waits to get on servers, and sluggish internet connectivity and application performance, often rendering the shiny new PC frustrating and useless.

Most businesses only had a few outward-facing servers that could authenticate remote workers – a vital gateway as the vector for cyber hacks and attacks increased exponentially. That’s not to mention the fact that many business applications simply weren’t designed to work with the latency required for people working from home. What businesses discovered at that moment was that their plumbing was out of date.  

Business and IT leaders quickly realised that to stay ahead of the curve in the hybrid working world, a renewed focus on building agile, adaptable, and flexible IT infrastructures was critical. More importantly, it accelerated the inevitable digital transformation that would keep them competitive in a data-driven economy. It is now abundantly clear to businesses that they need IT infrastructure to meet the demands of diverse workloads – derive intelligent insights from data, deploy applications effectively, and enhance data management and security.  

Ripe for a digital revolution

Unsurprisingly, IDC noted that there was an increase in purchases of server infrastructure to support changing workloads. However, it also forecasts this uptick will be sustainable and last beyond the pandemic. As the economy begins to reopen, business leaders are looking ahead. IT will continue to play a crucial role in 2021 and beyond – and we have already set the foundations for the digital revolution with next-generation servers. 

As we enter the zettabyte era, new innovative technologies are coming on stream, with 5G turbocharging IoT and putting edge computing to work.  Exciting new services improved day-to-day efficiencies, and the transformation of our digital society will be underpinned by resilient IT infrastructures.  By embracing the technological innovations of our next-generation servers, businesses keep pace with the coming data deluge.

The next generation of server architecture promises more power with less heat, thanks to improved, directed airflow, and direct liquid cooling, resulting in reduced operational costs and environmental impact. As we rebuild post-pandemic, manufacturers and customers alike strive to achieve ever more challenging sustainability goals. With this in mind, a focus on environmentally responsible design is imperative for the servers of tomorrow -  uniquely designed chassis for adaptive cooling and more efficient power consumption will be critical, improving energy efficiency generation over generation.

The most notable evolution is the configuration of these next-gen servers around more specific organisational needs. Unlike clunky and often unstable legacy infrastructure, the infrastructure of tomorrow will be sturdier and more modular. The next iteration is streamlined, and in this modular form, can be more easily tailored to business needs. This equates to essential cost savings as businesses only pay for what they use.  

Resolving the problem of the future, today

Tomorrow's IT challenges will focus on response times and latency as Edge and 5G technologies go mainstream. As businesses develop new and innovative services that utilise supercharged connectivity and real-time analytics, staying on top of these challenges will give them a competitive edge. For example, in the world of retail, automation will power new virtual security guards and even the slightest delay in the data relay could result in financial loss. 

Similarly, in the smart cities of tomorrow, the network must be responsive. With city-centre traffic lights controlled by an AI-powered camera that monitors pedestrians, delays in data transfers could cost the life of an elderly pedestrian who has fallen in the road. The stakes are far higher in a 5G-enabled world. As our reliance on technology deepens, the margins for error narrow, placing greater emphasis on the efficiency of those critical underpinning technologies.

Fully enabling the hybrid work model today is just a stepping-stone towards more fluid, tech-enabled lives. A work Zoom call from an automated vehicle on-route to an intelligent transport hub is a highly probable vision of our future. But it requires incredible amounts of compute and seamless data transfers to make it possible. These glossy snapshots need super servers to come to life, making that IT plumbing glisten with next-gen innovation essential. Without exemplary server architecture, we risk future tech advances and the human progression that it enables. 

Share article