Supermicro CEO would like you to build greener data centers • The Register


Transitioning just half of all data centers to sustainable operating models could reduce global energy costs by $7 billion, says Supermicro CEO Charles Liang.

Building greener data centers was a central theme of the company’s nearly hour-long Computex keynote earlier this month, where Liang touted Supermicro’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions through to the design of modular servers and the encouragement of liquid cooling.

“It’s our responsibility to reduce the environmental impact of technology by using less energy, reducing carbon footprint and e-waste,” he said.

Supermicro is no stranger to green data center initiatives, as Liang pointed out throughout the presentation. This included the company’s contributions to the MN-3 supercomputer cluster, which is among the most energy-efficient supercomputers today and has held the top spot in the Green500 rankings for a few years.

Liang also talked about his company’s efforts to standardize liquid cooling in the data center. He pointed to the company’s recent collaboration with Swedish data center operator GleSys to reuse water used to cool the facility to heat homes in the area, a technique presented by Dell Group analyst ‘ Oro, Lucas Beran, like the holy grail of data center cooling.

Supermicro’s efforts in the arena haven’t just been practical. Many of the biggest barriers to adoption relate to misconceptions about technology, Liang explained.

“Our new redundant liquid cooling technology simplifies deployment and addresses maintenance issues,” he said. “This solution will be pre-tested and validated on a large portfolio of systems.”

Liang also asserted that liquid cooling “costs nothing extra on initial hardware acquisition costs”, and instead pointed to the lower operating costs associated with more efficient cooling technologies.

“With optimized hardware and software system designs, our comprehensive IT solutions enable our customers to achieve the best performance per watt, including [power use efficiency] up to 1.06 or better,” he said.

Supermicro’s excitement for people buying liquid-cooled Supermicro hardware comes as a wave of high-powered computing platforms are expected to hit the market.

Many of the latest GPUs and AI accelerators from Intel, AMD and Nvidia now suck 600W or more, while many CPUs have thermal design powers exceeding 300 watts – 500W in the case of the Grace Superchip CPU from Nvidia.

Supply chain efficiency

Liang also highlighted the importance of sustainable supply chains during a brief presentation alongside Intel Fellow Shesha Krishnapura. Krishnapura is a longtime champion of disaggregated computing architectures, including blade servers.

“It’s not just about the cost of ownership, which everyone understands and understands,” Krishnapura said. “Green IT is not just about running the data center in the most energy-efficient way and using fewer natural resources and less electricity. It is also about reducing electronic waste.

He cited disaggregated servers as a prime example. By allowing a single chassis to be used across multiple generations of processors without being replaced, electronic waste can largely be eliminated.

“When you upgrade servers, for example, upgrading the CPU complex alone will reduce e-waste by 83%,” he claimed. “This means that only 17% by weight of the components need to be upgraded. Thus, the shipping costs are greatly reduced as well as the manufacturing cost.

This philosophy is not limited to blade servers from Supermicro either. On stage, the company showcased its recently announced universal GPU servers, replacing an AMD MI250-equipped GPU daughterboard with an Nvidia A100 SXM module.

Green IT is gaining momentum

Supermicro wasn’t the only vendor touting modularity and liquid cooling at Computex. Earlier this week, Nvidia unveiled its first Grace and Grace-Hopper Superchip reference designs, which also use a disaggregated chassis. Two of Nvidia’s HGX Grace-Hopper nodes or four HGX Grace nodes can be slotted into a single chassis for system power.

Unsurprisingly, Supermicro was one of the slated launch partners to build systems based on the HGX platform. Other vendors included Asus, Foxconn, Gigabyte, QCT and Wiwynn.

Nvidia also announced liquid-cooled versions of its PCIe-based A100 GPUs in an effort to reduce the impact of its power-hungry chips on data center power consumption.

While liquid-cooled A100s have been around for a while, they’re only available in the larger, taller TDP SXM form factor. New PCIe-based cards bring liquid cooling to a more mainstream audience.

The announcements also follow Intel’s $700 million sustainability initiative, announced last week, which will see the chipmaker build a 200,000 square foot ‘mega-lab’ to research and develop innovative technology. liquid and immersion cooling. ®


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