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Data Center Housing the World’s 3rd Fastest Supercomputer: Above Floor Thermal Measurements Compared to CFD Analysis

[+] Author Affiliations
Roger Schmidt, Madhusudan Iyengar

IBM Corporation, Poughkeepsie, NY

Joe Caricari

Grubb and Ellis, Santa Ana, CA

Paper No. IPACK2007-33507, pp. 803-818; 16 pages
  • ASME 2007 InterPACK Conference collocated with the ASME/JSME 2007 Thermal Engineering Heat Transfer Summer Conference
  • ASME 2007 InterPACK Conference, Volume 1
  • Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, July 8–12, 2007
  • Conference Sponsors: Electronic and Photonic Packaging Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4277-0 | eISBN: 0-7918-3801-3
  • Copyright © 2007 by ASME


With the ever increasing heat dissipated by IT equipment housed in data centers it is becoming more important to project the changes that can occur in the data center as the newer higher powered hardware is installed. The computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software that is available has improved over the years and some CFD software specific to data center thermal analysis has been developed. This has improved the timeliness of providing some quick analysis of the effects of new hardware into the data center. But it is critically important that this software provide a good report to the user of the effects of adding this new hardware. And it is the purpose of this paper to examine a large cluster installation and compare the CFD analysis with environmental measurements obtained from the same site. This paper shows measurements and CFD analysis of high powered racks as high as 27 kW clustered such that heat fluxes in some regions of the data center exceeded 700 Watts/ft2 (7535 W/m2 ). This paper describes the thermal profile of a high performance computing cluster located in an IBM data center and a comparison of that cluster modeled with CFD software. The high performance Advanced Simulation and Computing (ASC) cluster, developed and manufactured by IBM, is code named ASC Purple. It is the World’s 3rd fastest supercomputer [1], operating at a peak performance of 77.8 TFlop/s. ASC Purple, which employs IBM pSeries p575, Model 9118, contains more than 12,000 processors, 50 terabytes of memory, and 2 petabytes of globally accessible disk space. The cluster was first tested in the IBM development lab in Poughkeepsie, NY and then shipped to Lawrence Livermore National Labs in Livermore, California where it was installed to support our national security mission. Detailed measurements were taken in both data centers of electronic equipment power usage, perforated floor tile airflow, cable cutout airflow, computer room air conditioning (CRAC) airflow, and electronic equipment inlet air temperatures and were report in Schmidt [2], but only the IBM Poughkeepsie results will be reported here along with a comparison to CFD modeling results. In some areas of the Poughkeepsie data center there were regions that did exceed the equipment inlet air temperature specifications by a significant amount. These areas will be highlighted and reasons given on why these areas failed to meet the criteria. The modeling results by region showed trends that compared somewhat favorably but some rack thermal profiles deviated quite significantly from measurements.

Copyright © 2007 by ASME



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