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French bank Crédit Agricole backs immersion cooling for datacentre scale-up push

Following the completion of a successful two-year pilot project, Crédit Agricole has confirmed it is preparing to roll out Asperitas immersion cooling technology to more sites within its datacentre portfolio

French bank Crédit Agricole is pressing ahead with plans to deploy multiple Asperitas immersion cooling modules in two of its datacentres, following the completion of a successful two-year pilot project.

The Asperitas modules, dubbed AIC24, encase the datacentre servers which are immersed in a cooling liquid created by oil and gas giant Shell to provide direct cooling to the hardware. The heat generated by the equipment passes into the cooling liquid and is transported away using the principles of natural convection.

The bank started trialling the technology in 2018 at its largest server farm facility, known as Greenfield, which is responsible for managing more than 40% of the company’s workloads.

Over the course of the pilot, the technology met all of the bank’s Tier 4 datacentre requirements and contributed to improvements being made to the site’s Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) energy efficiency rating.

“The module was exposed to numerous energy fluctuations and performed exceptionally, demonstrated by the energy efficiency indicator PUE improving from 1.4 to 1.03 in the winter and 1.04 during a heatwave,” the company said in a statement.

On the back of this success, the bank confirmed it would install “multiple” Asperitas modules in two of its datacentres, which will help it save on space and scale back its energy consumption and related costs, while also enabling it to meet its high-density computing requirements.

Jean Buet, senior officer and head of datacentres at Crédit Agricole, said deploying the Asperitas technology would provide the firm with a low-hassle means of increasing the compute power of its server farms.

“The immersion cooling solution provided by Asperitas allows us to increase the density of our datacentre without major work. We can thus offer our customer a high thermal density solution that meets both their growing demand and the new technological challenges that appear with the new generation of IT equipment,” said Buet.

“Datacentres consume about 1% of global energy demand, and this is expected to grow with exponential amounts of data being generated. This [immersion cooling] solution increased compute performance, lower costs, and a lower carbon footprint”
Sundeep Kamath, Shell

Rolf Brink, CEO of Asperitas, said the deployment would play an important role in helping the bank achieve its ambition to “scale up” its datacentre infrastructure.

“The flexibility and simplicity of the AIC24 modules make it a highly scalable solution, without having to change the environmental infrastructure, so this outcome enables Crédit Agricole’s next step in development to be quite straight-forward,” said Brink.

“Having multiple AIC24 modules in the France site will make a huge impact on its datacentre performance, efficiency and sustainability, proving it to be a true ambassador of immersion cooling.”

Sundeep Kamath, global marketing manager for process oils at Shell, said its involvement in the project was a sign of its commitment to helping its technology partners and customers decarbonise their operations.

“Datacentres today consume about 1% of global energy demand, and this is only expected to grow with exponential amounts of data being generated. This innovative solution offers the best of all worlds – increased compute performance, lower costs, and a lower CO2 footprint,” said Kamath.

“Shell is deploying this technology for its own high-performance computing and is happy to see a leading bank like Crédit Agricole has also chosen this innovative, award-winning solution.”

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