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Schneider Electric launches wall-mounted server rack

News Analysis
Oct 08, 20193 mins
Data Center

Like a flat-screen TV that's mounted to save floor space, the EcoStruxure Micro Data Center 6U can be hung from the wall in space-constrained data centers and edge computing environments.

Floor space is often at a premium in a cramped data center, and Schneider Electric believes it has a fix for that: a wall-mounted server rack.

The EcoStruxure Micro Data Center Wall Mount is a 6U design, meaning it has the capacity of six rack units. Schneider is pushing its space-saving option as an edge solution. The company’s EcoStruxure IT Expert remote management and vulnerability assessment service will be available for the wall-mount units, even when installed in non-secured edge locations.

“With the EcoStruxure Micro Data Center 6U Wall Mount’s creative design and functionality, we are able to open up new possibilities to deploy resilient IT at the edge, making digital transformation a reality,” Jim Simonelli, senior vice president of emerging businesses, secure power division, said in a statement.

schneider 6u micro data center.original Schneider Electric

EcoStruxure Micro Data Center 6U Wall Mount

EcoStruxure IT Expert now includes a security assessment, which checks Schneider devices for vulnerabilities in their set-up. The company says a future version will examine equipment from other vendors.

The wall mount design comes in three versions: the S-Series, a standard IT room design; the C-Series, which is designed for commercial and office space and features soundproofing and wooden facings; and the R-Series, a ruggedized version for harsh environments.

Partnering for liquid cooling in data centers

Schneider also unveiled a partnership with Avnet and Iceotope through SE Ventures to develop immersion-designed liquid cooling data center solutions. It’s a three-way partnership, with Schneider Electric bringing the data center infrastructure, Iceotope supplying chassis-level immersion cooling technologies, and Avnet offering technology integration services.

Schneider didn’t have a release date for any new products based on the partnership. In a blog post co-written with Iceotope, Schneider said it sees demand for liquid cooling approaching as the power requirements of data centers are increasing and air cooling is not keeping up with the cooling requirements of these much hotter chips.

Schneider says an immersion-cooled solution can save up to 15% on capital expenditures and 10% on energy compared with a traditional air-cooled solution. Over 20 years, this would lead to an 11% savings in total cost of ownership (TCO).

Worth noting: Immersion is tricky. Water can’t be used because that would fry the electronics. A special liquid, often mineral oil, is required, and there’s no room for error when it comes to spillage. Most liquid cooled solutions simply use water to cool the heat sink rather than a fan.

Schneider is advocating for immersion cooling over evaporative cooling. Schneider suggests that using evaporative water cooling consumes a large amount of water. However, other sources have said otherwise, that in a closed-loop environment there is next to no evaporation. In addition, it’s not as if municipal water is used in this situation anyway. That would wreak havoc on the piping. Distilled, ultra-filtered water is required.

In the end, all of the arguments Schneider makes in favor of immersion cooling could also apply to evaporative cooling, which involves less risk. The main reason to opt for immersion is if a data center is running very, very hot. And with CPUs and GPUs getting up to 400 and even 500 watts, that’s a possibility. Especially in an ultra-dense compute environment.

Immersion is something of a niche, but Schneider, a giant company, certainly has the capacity to make it more broadly available.

Andy Patrizio is a freelance journalist based in southern California who has covered the computer industry for 20 years and has built every x86 PC he’s ever owned, laptops not included.

The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of ITworld, Network World, its parent, subsidiary or affiliated companies.