Equinix is rolling out support for liquid cooling across a large proportion of its data center footprint.

The colocation firm this week announced plans to expand support for liquid cooling technologies – including direct-to-chip – to more than 100 of its International Business Exchange (IBX) data centers in more than 45 metros globally.

Equinix LD14 render.png
– Equinix

Equinix already supports liquid-to-air cooling through in-rack heat exchangers. The company said the new announcement will enable more businesses to use cooling technologies for high-density hardware. The company said it was adopting a vendor-neutral approach so customers can choose their preferred hardware provider.

Sites supporting direct-to-chip liquid cooling include London, Silicon Valley, Singapore, and Washington DC. According to Business Insider, the first of the facilities to host the new technology will be ready in Q1 2024.

"Liquid cooling is revolutionizing how data centers cool powerful, high-density hardware that supports emerging technologies, and Equinix is at the heart of that innovation," said Tiffany Osias, VP of global colocation, Equinix.

"We have been helping businesses with significant liquid-cooled deployments across a range of deployment sizes and densities for years. Equinix has the experience and expertise to help organizations innovate data center capacity to support the complex, modern IT deployments that applications like AI require."

Equinix has previously trialed liquid cooling in some of its facilities. In February 2023, the colo giant said the company had been testing ZutaCore's liquid cooling systems at its co-innovation center for a year, and in June 2022 installed some of the two-phase tech in live servers for its Metal infrastructure-as-a-service offering. A rack full of operational two-phase cooling had, at that point, been stable for six months in its NY5 data center in Secaucus, New Jersey.

"Liquid cooling was front and center in our development of the Open19 V2 specification. The goal of the Open19 project, which operates under the Linux Foundation, was to create an open standard that can fit any 19" rack for server, storage, and networking,” said My Truong, SSIA Chairperson and field CTO for Equinix.

“The project enables digital leaders to use hardware from a diverse set of vendors efficiently and sustainably in any data center environment. Equinix's technology and vendor-neutral approach to liquid cooling is a mechanism to remove the friction of deploying advanced liquid cooling solutions in enterprise data centers."

Direct-to-chip relies on a cold plate sitting on top of the chip inside the server. Liquid runs through the plate, drawing heat away from the chip. Direct-to-chip servers can be installed in standard IT cabinets.

"We have seen an increase in demand for data-intensive and high-compute applications like AI," said Sean Graham, research director, cloud to Edge data center trends at IDC. "The hardware required to run these new applications is pushing up densities inside data centers and can no longer be efficiently cooled by traditional techniques. We are seeing a growing demand for liquid-cooled solutions from enterprises, and it is essential that data center providers, like Equinix, can support this next generation of cooling solutions."