Plans for Dutch datacenter to warm thousands of homes

Bytesnet working with Boston to recycle residual heat in Groningen district

Dutch datacenter firm Bytesnet is using expertise from computer maker Boston Ltd to recycle heat from its facility in the Groningen district of the Netherlands that could be used to heat thousands of homes.

The two companies said they are working together to provide long-term reliable, affordable, and sustainable heat solutions in the Groningen district as part of Bytesnet's commitment to WarmteStad, a green energy supplier in the area.

According to Bytesnet, high-performance compute (HPC) workloads necessitate high-power density racks, and the equipment must be kept cool to ensure it stays within the temperature envelope that ensures optimum performance of the hardware.

The solution being deployed at its new Groningen datacenter will therefore take advantage of the residual heat that is released from the servers and IT equipment, relying on expertise from Boston. The two firms estimate that this will provide enough energy to heat over 10,000 homes and businesses.

Boston said that the IT infrastructure comprises Supermicro server nodes combined with large-scale DDN storage systems interconnected by Mellanox networking. The software layer uses vScaler, an HPC platform based on OpenStack that adds monitoring, management, job-scheduling and message-passing, and can automate processes to reduce administration overhead and lower costs for Bytesnet.

On the all-important cooling side, this is provided by technology from Asperitas, specifically its AIC24 solution for 21" servers. This fully immerses the server mainboards in a dielectric fluid that uses convection-driven circulation to transport the heat away and keep the systems cool.

"This approach, designed by Boston, allows us to achieve unparalleled performance in energy efficiency and realise considerable savings in our up-front and operational costs – all whilst providing a higher quality of service to the greater demands of data-driven organisations," said Bytesnet managing director Jan-Joris van Dijk.

Meanwhile, The Register reported this week that a datacenter being built in Ohio will reportedly be the first in the US to deploy two-phase immersion cooling.

Putting the waste heat from IT infrastructure inside datacenters to good use also appears to be a trend judging by some recent announcements.

Microsoft unveiled a partnership with Finland's largest energy company for a new datacenter near Helsinki that will heat homes as it cools servers by moving waste datacenter heat via existing water pipes to homes and businesses in the surrounding cities of Espoo and Kauniainen.

In Korea, Tomorrow Water is looking to colocate datacenters with sewage treatment plants so that heated water from the datacenter can be used to boost waste water processing, after which some of the treated water gets fed back to the datacenter for cooling purposes.

If that wasn't weird enough, a datacenter in Hokkaido in Japan is using snow to cool its IT infrastructure then taking the resultant meltwater, now heated to 33°C (91.4°F), and using it to cultivate eels. White Data Center (WDC) plans to market the adult fish as "the first eel cultured in Hokkaido," and an annual shipment target of 300,000 eels has apparently been set for 2023. ®

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