BT takes plunge with liquid cooling trials

BT takes plunge with liquid cooling trials

BT new HQ May 2022.jpg

BT is trialling several liquid cooling technologies that could improve energy consumption and efficiency metrics in its networks and IT infrastructure.

The company will trial precision liquid-cooled network switches using a solution provided by Iceotope and Juniper Network QFX Series switches, which are used in existing network cloud architectures.

Maria Cuevas, networks research director at BT said: “As the UK’s largest provider of fixed-line broadband and mobile services in the UK, it isn’t a surprise that over 90% of our overall energy consumption – and nearly 95% of our electricity - comes from our networks. 

“In a world of advancing technology and growing data demands, it’s critical that we continue to innovate for energy efficiency solutions.

“Liquid cooling for network and IT infrastructure is one part of a much bigger jigsaw but is an area we’re very excited to explore with our technology partners.”

Ahead of the trial, BT has demonstrated a replica set-up using a HP x86 server at BT’s Sustainability Festival.

The demonstration showed how power used to cool a network switch typically deployed in a data centre could be reduced significantly.

All electronic and electrical systems generate heat during operation that must be dissipated to maintain working capability.

Like most large data centres, network and IT equipment across BT’s estate is cooled using air-based systems.

As network capacity and demands increase, next-generation IT and network hardware will have to work harder and will become hotter.

Consequently, the power needed to cool them will increase, driving up energy consumption and operational costs.

BT is exploring alternative cooling techniques and will trial precision liquid-cooled networking servers and data centre equipment with Iceotope and Juniper.

The Group will also trial full immersion of networking servers in an immersion tank with Immersion4, liquid-cooled cold plates of networking equipment in a cooling enclosure with Nexalus and cooling using sprayed-on partial immersion of data centre equipment with Airsys.

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