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IBM Has "Cool" Idea for Mobile Data Centers

By - Source: Toms IT Pro
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IBM files patent for free cooling in containerized data center.

IBM says that it has developed a new way to cool mobile data-centers (almost) free of charge and has filed a patent to protect the idea.

Since mobile cooling solutions for container-based data centers can be prohibitively expensive and rather ineffective, IBM says that there is a need for either more effective cooling solutions or cheaper ways to control temperatures inside such a container.

The company's idea is to use the shell of a data center as a way to attract and dissipate heat from the inside out. Described as a free cooling process (if the initial investment is ignored), it proposes a "corrugated external skin of the container" as well as "finned piping" in the insulation layer. The approach follows a strategy to increase the surface area of a metal container to transfer as much heat as possible.

IBM files patent for free cooling in containerized data center.IBM files patent for free cooling in containerized data center.

According to the patent filing, the container will also include a "heat exchanger system having an IT container having an inner chamber containing the media from which heat is to be pulled" as well as pipes that are integrated inside the "corrugated columns of thermally conducting material." These pipes would be made out of a "thermally conducting material" and would have "one or more cooling water tubes through the cooling water pipes supplied with cooling water."

The cooling system is controlled via a "container environment temperature monitor" that would engage or disengage a stronger cooling process and activate, for example, an air-cooled chiller.

There was no information how effective the "free" cooling solution can be by itself.