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Your top 5 liquid cooling quandaries, according to Omdia • The Register

With generation after generation of chips and systems growing ever hotter, and datacenters increasingly under pressure to reduce their impact on the climate, liquid and immersion cooling technologies have steadily gained traction.

Chipmakers and OEMs alike are investing heavily in liquid cooling. Intel, for example, plans to build a $700 million “mega lab” in Oregon to develop and study novel cooling technologies.

However, there remain questions about the necessity, reliability, cost, and underlying technologies that come with adopting liquid or immersion cooling. So we asked Omdia analyst Moises Levy what datacenter operators’ most pressing questions are when it comes to deploying these technologies.

1. What’s the state of the market?

According to Levy, one of the first and most frequent questions he gets from clients is about what the datacenter liquid cooling market looks like today.

Broadly speaking, liquid cooling technologies fall into two categories. The first is direct liquid cooling, which involves passing water or a dielectric fluid through copper or aluminum cold plates attached to hotspots like CPUs, GPUs, or other accelerators. This is a well-established and understood market, with many OEMs already offering systems pre-configured in this form factor. Lenovo’s Jupiter and HPE’s Apollo systems are two such examples.

The second, and arguably more compelling, is immersion cooling, which involves physically dunking the server into a bath of non-conductive fluid – commonly oil or two-phase refrigerants. For the most part, the companies offering this technology are startups, Levy tells us. However, he notes that more recently oil companies – experts in producing dielectric fluids – have got involved.

What’s more, unlike direct liquid cooling, immersion cooling is largely vendor agnostic.

Driving development in this arena are a wave of high-TDP processors, GPUs, and AI accelerators which have dramatically changed the cooling requirements and power density of the rack, he explained.

As such, Levy predicts the liquid and immersion cooling market will top $1 billion by 2025, while the broader thermal management market is expected to crest $7.7 billion during that same time frame.

2. How reliable is it?

Understandably, many datacenter operators aren’t keen on the idea of a liquid-cooled system springing a leak and shorting something out.

Fortunately, liquid cooling isn’t a new concept and most direct liquid cooled systems are quite reliable – enough so that the major OEMs are willing to stand behind them. “Nowadays direct liquid cooling technologies are well proven,” says Levy.

The risk of a leak, while still present, can be further mitigated through the use of non-conductive fluids. This means that even if there is a spill, it won’t pose a risk to the components.

Immersion cooling, however, introduces some unknowns of which customers need to be aware, Levy says. “Not all companies are producing servers that are guaranteed to operate in immersion.”

This is a problem because the dielectric liquid used in these systems is relatively new and may breakdown or degrade certain components if they weren’t designed to operate immersed in an oil or two-phase refrigerant.

3. Will this help me achieve my sustainability goals?

“Absolutely,” Levy assures us. “At the end of the day, we’re having more efficient systems,” as a result of liquid cooling.

It’s well known that liquid cooling has the potential to reduce the power required to keep systems cooled significantly compared to traditional air cooling. As much as 40 percent of a datacenter’s power consumption can be directly attributed to running the air conditioning necessary to keep the servers at operating temperature.

However, liquid and immersion cooling are not a silver bullet for sustainability. While they can drastically reduce datacenter water consumption and cut the power required to cool the systems, customers should not confuse sustainability with efficiency, Levy says.

For example, an electric vehicle may be more sustainable, but if the driver has to make multiple trips to the store to get everything they need, it could end up being less efficient than a combustion engine-powered vehicle whose driver can finish their shopping in a single trip.

The same is true of datacenters, Levy says. “We can have the most efficient and sustainable datacenter, but if we’re not producing, if we’re not processing workloads, we’re missing something.”

While liquid and immersion cooling can improve the efficiency of the datacenter, operators should consider the big picture when talking about sustainability, he argues.

4. Is liquid cooling the best option for me?

“There is no one size fits all,” when it comes to liquid or immersion cooling, Levy says.

Not every datacenter needs or will even benefit from liquid cooling, he explains. Two big factors that play into whether or not operators should consider liquid cooling, according to Levy, are datacenter location and workload.

“For example, if you’re one of the Nordic countries, you have access to free cooling,” Levy says, referencing environments where air conditioning may not be required due to the low ambient air temperature.

He adds that, depending on the location, datacenters in the US or elsewhere in the world could take advantage of this to offset power consumption by piping in cool evening air rather than relying on air conditioning 24/7.

However, if the datacenter isn’t located in an environment where “free cooling” is a possibility, customers should also consider their workloads. Air cooling is still effective up to 40–50 kilowatts per rack, Levy says.

“Nowadays with high-performance computing, more compute-intensive workloads, we’re seeing more and more power density,” he said. “Now a server can hold hundreds of thousands of watts.”

For customers that are deploying massive HPC or AI/ML workloads, it may make sense to liquid cool those systems, while continuing to rely on air cooling for other less-demanding systems.

5. What’s it gonna cost me?

Location and workload also factors heavily into the cost of ownership and customers’ return on investment, Levy says.

Customers always want to know what it’s going to cost them to deploy liquid-cooled systems in their datacenters and how long it will take to pay that investment off. Unfortunately, there isn’t always a straightforward answer, he adds.

“If you’re adopting this technology because you don’t have any other option – for example, the land is too expensive, or you don’t have power capacity from other sources – that [investment] will pay off,” Levy says.

However, it’s a different story entirely when it comes to large hyperscale and cloud providers, many of which are already dabbling in liquid and immersion cooling tech. “For the big cloud service providers who are leading this race. It’s not about cost. It’s about the long term.”

In other words, if the cloud providers can achieve higher system and power densities by using liquid cooling, that drives down the cost of compute.

Meanwhile, for colocation providers, liquid cooling is being deployed out of necessity rather than desire, Levy notes, adding that a failure to embrace the technology could lose them valuable customers that want or need liquid cooling to support AI/ML workloads.

There are also operational costs to using liquid cooling that need to be taken into account.

“People sometimes don’t know they need a filtering system, they need software, they will be tracking the quality of dielectric fluids,” he says. “It’s another type of monitoring which requires higher skilled labor.”

All of which means there is a lot to consider before you jump straight in. ®

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Culture

Top 10 Florida Cities Dominate The Business Startup Landscape In The U.S.

Top 10 Florida Cities And Business Startup Landscape In The U.S.

The Voice Of EU | Florida emerges as a hub for entrepreneurial endeavors, with its vibrant business landscape and conducive environment for startups. Renowned for its low corporate tax rates and a high concentration of investors, the Sunshine State beckons aspiring entrepreneurs seeking fertile grounds to launch and grow their businesses.

In a recent report by WalletHub, Florida cities dominate the list of the top 10 best destinations for business startups, showcasing their resilience and economic vitality amidst challenging times.

From Orlando’s thriving market to Miami’s dynamic ecosystem, each city offers unique advantages and opportunities for entrepreneurial success. Let’s delve into the chronologically listed cities that exemplify Florida’s prominence in the business startup arena.

1. Orlando Leads the Way: Orlando emerges as the most attractive market in the U.S. for business startups, with a remarkable surge in small business establishments. WalletHub’s latest report highlights Orlando’s robust ecosystem, fostering the survival and growth of startups, buoyed by a high concentration of investors per capita.

2. Tampa Takes Second Place: Securing the second spot among large cities for business startups, Tampa boasts a favorable business environment attributed to its low corporate tax rates. The city’s ample investor presence further fortifies startups, providing essential resources for navigating the initial years of business operations.

3. Charlotte’s Diverse Industries: Claiming the third position, Charlotte stands out for its diverse industrial landscape and exceptionally low corporate taxes, enticing companies to reinvest capital. This conducive environment propels entrepreneurial endeavors, contributing to sustained economic growth.

4. Jacksonville’s Rising Profile: Jacksonville emerges as a promising destination for startups, bolstered by its favorable business climate. The city’s strategic positioning fosters entrepreneurial ventures, attracting aspiring business owners seeking growth opportunities.

5. Miami’s Entrepreneurial Hub: Miami solidifies its position as a thriving entrepreneurial hub, attracting businesses with its dynamic ecosystem and strategic location. The city’s vibrant startup culture and supportive infrastructure make it an appealing destination for ventures of all sizes.

6. Atlanta’s Economic Momentum: Atlanta’s ascent in the business startup landscape underscores its economic momentum and favorable business conditions. The city’s strategic advantages and conducive policies provide a fertile ground for entrepreneurial ventures to flourish.

7. Fort Worth’s Business-Friendly Environment: Fort Worth emerges as a prime destination for startups, offering a business-friendly environment characterized by low corporate taxes. The city’s supportive ecosystem and strategic initiatives facilitate the growth and success of new ventures.

8. Austin’s Innovation Hub: Austin cements its status as an innovation hub, attracting startups with its vibrant entrepreneurial community and progressive policies. The city’s robust infrastructure and access to capital foster a conducive environment for business growth and innovation.

9. Durham’s Emerging Entrepreneurship Scene: Durham’s burgeoning entrepreneurship scene positions it as a promising destination for startups, fueled by its supportive ecosystem and strategic initiatives. The city’s collaborative culture and access to resources contribute to the success of new ventures.

10. St. Petersburg’s Thriving Business Community: St. Petersburg rounds off the top 10 with its thriving business community and supportive ecosystem for startups. The city’s strategic advantages and favorable business climate make it an attractive destination for entrepreneurial endeavors.

Despite unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Great Resignation, and high inflation, these top Florida cities remain resilient and well-equipped to overcome obstacles, offering promising opportunities for business owners and entrepreneurs alike.


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European Startup Ecosystems Awash With Gulf Investment – Here Are Some Of The Top Investors

European Startup Ecosystem Getting Flooded With Gulf Investments

The Voice Of EU | In recent years, European entrepreneurs seeking capital infusion have widened their horizons beyond the traditional American investors, increasingly turning their gaze towards the lucrative investment landscape of the Gulf region. With substantial capital reservoirs nestled within sovereign wealth funds and corporate venture capital entities, Gulf nations have emerged as compelling investors for European startups and scaleups.

According to comprehensive data from Dealroom, the influx of investment from Gulf countries into European startups soared to a staggering $3 billion in 2023, marking a remarkable 5x surge from the $627 million recorded in 2018.

This substantial injection of capital, accounting for approximately 5% of the total funding raised in the region, underscores the growing prominence of Gulf investors in European markets.

Particularly noteworthy is the significant support extended to growth-stage companies, with over two-thirds of Gulf investments in 2023 being directed towards funding rounds exceeding $100 million. This influx of capital provides a welcome boost to European companies grappling with the challenge of securing well-capitalized investors locally.

Delving deeper into the landscape, Sifted has identified the most active Gulf investors in European startups over the past two years.

Leading the pack is Aramco Ventures, headquartered in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. Bolstered by a substantial commitment, Aramco Ventures boasts a $1.5 billion sustainability fund, alongside an additional $4 billion allocated to its venture capital arm, positioning it as a formidable player with a total investment capacity of $7 billion by 2027. With a notable presence in 17 funding rounds, Aramco Ventures has strategically invested in ventures such as Carbon Clean Solutions and ANYbotics, aligning with its focus on businesses that offer strategic value.

Following closely is Mubadala Capital, headquartered in Abu Dhabi, UAE, with an impressive tally of 13 investments in European startups over the past two years. Backed by the sovereign wealth fund Mubadala Investment Company, Mubadala Capital’s diverse investment portfolio spans private equity, venture capital, and alternative solutions. Notable investments include Klarna, TIER, and Juni, reflecting its global investment strategy across various sectors.

Ventura Capital, based in Dubai, UAE, secured its position as a key player with nine investments in European startups. With a presence in Dubai, London, and Tokyo, Ventura Capital boasts an international network of limited partners and a sector-agnostic investment approach, contributing to its noteworthy investments in companies such as Coursera and Spotify.

Qatar Investment Authority, headquartered in Doha, Qatar, has made significant inroads into the European startup ecosystem with six notable investments. As the sovereign wealth fund of Qatar, QIA’s diversified portfolio spans private and public equity, infrastructure, and real estate, with strategic investments in tech startups across healthcare, consumer, and industrial sectors.

MetaVision Dubai, a newcomer to the scene, has swiftly garnered attention with six investments in European startups. Focusing on seed to Series A startups in the metaverse and Web3 space, MetaVision raised an undisclosed fund in 2022, affirming its commitment to emerging technologies and innovative ventures.

Investcorp, headquartered in Manama, Bahrain, has solidified its presence with six investments in European startups. With a focus on mid-sized B2B businesses, Investcorp’s diverse investment strategies encompass private equity, real estate, infrastructure, and credit management, contributing to its notable investments in companies such as Terra Quantum and TruKKer.

Chimera Capital, based in Abu Dhabi, UAE, rounds off the list with four strategic investments in European startups. As part of a prominent business conglomerate, Chimera Capital leverages its global reach and sector-agnostic approach to drive investments in ventures such as CMR Surgical and Neat Burger.

In conclusion, the burgeoning influx of capital from Gulf investors into European startups underscores the region’s growing appeal as a vibrant hub for innovation and entrepreneurship. With key players such as Aramco Ventures, Mubadala Capital, and Ventura Capital leading the charge, European startups are poised to benefit from the strategic investments and partnerships forged with Gulf investors, propelling them towards sustained growth and success in the global market landscape.


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China Reveals Lunar Mission: Sending ‘Taikonauts’ To The Moon From 2030 Onwards

China Reveals Lunar Mission

The Voice Of EU | In a bold stride towards lunar exploration, the Chinese Space Agency has unveiled its ambitious plans for a moon landing set to unfold in the 2030s. While exact timelines remain uncertain, this endeavor signals a potential resurgence of the historic space race reminiscent of the 1960s rivalry between the United States and the USSR.

China’s recent strides in lunar exploration include the deployment of three devices on the moon’s surface, coupled with the successful launch of the Queqiao-2 satellite. This satellite serves as a crucial communication link, bolstering connectivity between Earth and forthcoming missions to the moon’s far side and south pole.

Unlike the secretive approach of the Soviet Union in the past, China’s strategy leans towards transparency, albeit with a hint of mystery surrounding the finer details. Recent revelations showcase the naming and models of lunar spacecraft, steeped in cultural significance. The Mengzhou, translating to “dream ship,” will ferry three astronauts to and from the moon, while the Lanyue, meaning “embrace the moon,” will descend to the lunar surface.

Drawing inspiration from both Russian and American precedents, China’s lunar endeavor presents a novel approach. Unlike its predecessors, China will employ separate launches for the manned module and lunar lander due to the absence of colossal space shuttles. This modular approach bears semblance to SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy, reflecting a contemporary adaptation of past achievements.

Upon reaching lunar orbit, astronauts, known as “taikonauts” in Chinese, will rendezvous with the lunar lander, reminiscent of the Apollo program’s maneuvers. However, distinct engineering choices mark China’s departure from traditional lunar landing methods.

The Chinese lunar lander, while reminiscent of the Apollo Lunar Module, introduces novel features such as a single set of engines and potential reusability and advance technology. Unlike past missions where lunar modules were discarded, China’s design hints at the possibility of refueling and reuse, opening avenues for sustained lunar exploration.

China Reveals Lunar Mission: Sending 'Taikonauts' To The Moon From 2030 Onwards
A re-creation of the two Chinese spacecraft that will put ‘taikonauts’ on the moon.CSM

Despite these advancements, experts have flagged potential weaknesses, particularly regarding engine protection during landing. Nevertheless, China’s lunar aspirations remain steadfast, with plans for extensive testing and site selection underway.

Beyond planting flags and collecting rocks, China envisions establishing a permanent lunar base, the International Lunar Research Station (ILRS), ushering in a new era of international collaboration in space exploration.

While the Artemis agreements spearheaded by NASA have garnered global support, China’s lunar ambitions stand as a formidable contender in shaping the future of space exploration. In conclusion, China’s unveiling of its lunar ambitions not only marks a significant milestone in space exploration but also sets the stage for a new chapter in the ongoing saga of humanity’s quest for the cosmos. As nations vie for supremacy in space, collaboration and innovation emerge as the cornerstones of future lunar endeavors.


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