French company developing building-free data centers

Servers should be stored in vats of cooling, non-conductive oil instead of elaborate, outfitted structures, say engineers who are working on a radical, building-free, data center concept.

French company Horizon Computing is one of the developers behind the project and provides support. It proposes using stacks of 10-gallon barrels filled with Shell DIALA dielectric mineral oil or natural equivalent. Dielectric oil doesn’t have any water in it, so it won’t conduct electricity, but it cools just like water. The computers function as normal and aren’t subject to rust either.

Benefits of RuggedPOD containers

The idea is that common servers are fully submerged in the barrels where they are chilled by the immersion. Expensive humidity control and air conditioning thus become irrelevant, as do buildings.

One could even place the containers, which the researchers call RuggedPODs, out in the middle of a field (rendered image pictured above), observes Simon Sharwood, of The Register, who has reported on the project from the Sydney OpenStack Summit, where the idea is being bandied around.

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