French weather service goes for liquid cooling

Bull signs up to provide Météo-France with some warm water for its servers

8 November 2012 by Penny Jones - DatacenterDynamics

French weather service goes for liquid cooling
Bull is putting its Bullx supercomputer to work for French weather service

France’s national meteorological service Météo-France will boost its supercomputing capabilities in Q1 next year with the help of Bull’s new generation supercomputers – the Bullx B700 DLC.

Bull announced the order, which will see the systems installed its site in Toulouse first then later this year at its Espace Clément Ader facility, today.

It said Météo-France was looking to restrict its electricity consumption and cooling systems for its supercomputers while increasing overall performance.

The new B700 DLC comes with a high performance cooling system and the latest generation of Intel Xeon processors and while it will initially deliver a processing power of about 1 Petaflop this could be ramped up to 5 Petaflops by the end of 2016.

Bull said this increases the usable computing power at the facility by nearly 50%.

This is mostly down to the power and space saving capabilities offered by the direct liquid cooling technology being used by the system, which Bull claims can lower energy use by about a third.

“Cooling takes place inside the blade itself, through direct contact between the heat producing components (processors and memory) and a cold plate with coolant circulating within it,” Bull said.

“This enables water at ambient temperature to be used for cooling, boosting energy performance by around 40% compared to traditional data centers, despite being just as easy to maintain as standard, air-cooled servers.”

The system, according to Bull, makes it possible to cool the data center using incoming water at 35 degrees Celsius.

“It is therefore no longer necessary to produce cold water, which represents considerable savings in terms of electricity consumption, enabling a PUE of 1.1 to be achieved in optimal operating conditions.”

The Bullx cabinet, which supports up to 800kW, contains all the equipment required for cooling, with an electricity supply at top and hydraulic circuits at the bottom.

Météo-France is headquartered in Paris but many of its domestic operations now exist in Toulouse, while the Institute Clement Ader installation is part of a wider initiative with the Météo-France and University of Toulouse Research and Higher Education Center.

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