Research by Omdia reveals that sustainable and innovative technologies such as chilled water and evaporative cooling, as well as forms of liquid cooling, are becoming more widely adopted.
Vertiv, a global provider of critical digital infrastructure and continuity solutions, has been ranked by technology analyst firm Omdia as the largest global supplier in a data center cooling market which continues to undergo change and innovation. The newly released research highlights that established heat rejection technologies such as Direct Expansion (DX), Chilled Water and Evaporative Cooling continue to dominate while also becoming more sustainable. In addition, new technologies, such as forms of liquid cooling, are predicted to grow as data center operators look for ways to further improve efficiency and deal with increasingly power-intensive compute.
The Omdia paper, Data Center Thermal Management Report 2020, published in late 2020 and based on 2018 and 2019 data, states that Vertiv has a 23.5% share of the global data center cooling market – more than 10% higher than its nearest rival. The market for data center thermal technology is set to increase from $3.3bn in 2020 to more than $4.3bn in 2024, according to Omdia. Vertiv also leads the global market for perimeter thermal technologies with a 37.5% market share which is more than 20% higher than the next largest supplier.
In addition to analysing market position, the report provides insight and intelligence on how data center cooling technology is evolving. Established technologies such as chillers and perimeter cooling will remain a large proportion of the market. According to Omdia, split DX is still the primary form of heat rejection in data center thermal management, but chilled water and direct evaporative heat rejection are gaining momentum. In addition, cloud and colocation service provider momentum has accelerated, driving double-digit growth for air handling units (AHU).
Omdia predicts there will also be strong growth in forms of liquid cooling – immersion and direct-to-chip – that are expected to double between 2020 and 2024. Several factors are contributing to this shift, including increasing chip and server power consumption, edge growth, increasing rack densities, as well as energy efficiency and sustainability requirements.
“The data center thermal management market is on the cusp of an inflection point. Currently, existing air-based thermal products and solutions are driving growth but are limited by their ability to cool 10kW+ rack densities. New technologies, products, and designs are coming to market to help support these high-density deployments and more efficient operations leading to changing market dynamic through 2024.”
Lucas Beran, principal analyst for Omdia’s cloud and data center research practice
Vertiv has announced several recent innovations in thermal technology. In EMEA, Vertiv announced Vertiv™ Liebert® OFC, a new and highly advanced range of oil-free turbocor compressor chillers developed in partnership with Geoclima. The Liebert OFC has been designed to utilize low GWP refrigerants including R1234ze and to provide high energy efficiency. Moreover, the entire floor-mount air conditioning range has been recently redesigned for utmost efficiency, including the direct expansion Vertiv Liebert PDX with variable speed compressors and the chilled water range with the newest Vertiv Liebert PCW.
“Vertiv’s enduring leadership in thermal management demonstrates that our customers value our domain expertise, our broad-ranging portfolio and the increasing investment in technology, research and development. The cooling products and solutions we have launched throughout 2020 and our forward-looking innovation roadmap will continue to offer leading technology to our customers, enabling them to achieve higher efficiency and sustainability goals.”
Giordano Albertazzi, president for Vertiv in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA)
In addition to internal innovations, Vertiv is also working with industry thought leadership groups and recently became a Platinum Member of the Open Compute Project (OCP). Vertiv’s role will include supporting initiatives on the adoption of liquid cooling through the Advanced Cooling Solutions (ACS) and Advanced Cooling Facility (ACF) projects. The aim is to bring guidelines and best practices for direct-to-chip and immersion liquid cooling technologies as well as enable practices for data center facilities to adopt liquid cooling.
Vertiv’s own research into thermal technologies also points to future innovation. According to Vertiv’s Data Center 2025: Closer to the Edge report, the data center industry has seen a large-scale shift to economization driven by hyperscale operators and colocation providers, while simultaneously driving heat removal closer to servers through rear door and liquid cooling systems designed to support the high-density racks common in high performance computing (HPC) facilities. Of the 800+ data center professionals that responded to the survey, 42% expect future cooling requirements to be met by mechanical systems, while 22% say they will be met with liquid cooling and outside air, a result likely driven by the more extreme rack densities being observed today.
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