Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Good In Theory...

(via Slashdot) Computer company Very-PC is going to start selling oil-cooled server racks. Not such a bad idea, right? Oil conducts heat more efficiently than air, reducing the amount of energy it takes to cool the rack. Just one question: How do you service computers in the rack?

This, I think, is an example of a good theory being undone by reality. The article is short on details, but it sounds like they're basically immersing the rack in a vat of oil. If you have your rack in a vat of oil, what do you do when you need to change out an Ethernet cable? Do you have to drain the tank, or is there going to be some hoist mechanism to raise the rack out of the tank? Either way, what used to be an easy and routine task all of a sudden becomes a horrible chore. Unless they've got some clever work-around you're going to have problems if you need to do something as simple as power the server off and on. I suspect that any data center using these racks might actually loose money due to reduced productivity.

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