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Datacenter / Interviews

“Submer is a trailblazer and our innovations will be the catalyst to re-define datacenter design and operations”— Jeff Brown, MD North America, Submer Immersion Cooling

Jeff Brown, MD North America, Submer Immersion Cooling

The modern businesses run on data. This data is housed by data centers within thousands of servers. The demand for datacenter capacity has increased manifolds in the last few years. But, these datacenters have a profound impact on our environment.

The power consumed by the servers churning information is responsible for the rising operational costs and growing carbon emissions. But not everybody is fully aware of this and the time has come for datacenters to be more efficient AND greener.

We interviewed Jeff Brown, Managing Director North America, Submer Immersion Cooling. Submer provides highly efficient, eco-friendly immersion cooling for the datacenters that helps save up to 99% of cooling costs and up to 87% of the physical space. This helps enterprises save energy while helping reduce global warming.

Jeff has over 25 years of experience in data center sales and operations. Before Submer, Brown has served as CCO for UK2 Group and Vice President of Sales for Savvis, the $1.5 billion cloud infrastructure and hosted technology services division of CenturyLink. He also held commercial leadership positions at VeriSign, Equinix and CompuServe; and developed an impressive reputation for building, scaling and restoring growth to technology sales organizations.

Read on as he discusses his new role at Submer, why immersion cooling is important for the greener future of the data centers and more.

1. Let’s start with a brief overview of your new role at Submer Immersion Cooling as the Managing Director, North America.

I am the first Submer employee to be based in the United States and am focused on establishing and scaling our business in North America.  Initially, this includes developing market & brand awareness; building local manufacturing capacity; coordinating partner support; and growing our customer base.

2. With an experience of more than 25 years in Data Center Sales and Operations, what opportunities do you see in the Northern American market for Submer datacenter solutions?

At the risk of stating the obvious, the datacenter industry continues to grow and evolve at a breakneck pace.  This unabated growth has attracted many new entrants and new ideas about how to provide technology services more effectively.

Submer is one of these trailblazers and we believe our innovations will be the catalyst to completely re-defining how datacenters are designed and operated.  In fact, re-thinking the datacenter will unlock new innovations for OEMs and software developers too.  And all of that will revolutionize the economics of providing digital services around the globe. Pretty heady stuff!

3. Tell us about Submer’s webinar on HPC Immersion cooling – first in a series of webinars about HPC.

Our first priority is to help educate the market about the capabilities and benefits of using liquid as the primary method for managing heat in the datacenter.  One way we are doing this, at the macro level, is to host a monthly webinar to share knowledge and real-world applications of this technology.  It’s convenient, low-cost and quickly addresses our audience around the globe.

We chose to focus on the High-Performance Computing (HPC) community first since it adopted liquid cooling strategies long ago and there is a great deal of empirical, real-world evidence of what can be accomplished.  We were fortunate to have Daniele Rispoli from ClusterVision join us as a respected expert in HPC and Super-computing to share his insights.

4. That’s a great initiative. If correct, you will soon be having a second webinar on Hardware Design Considerations for Immersion Cooling on 5th March. Could you tell our readers about it?

Yes, our next webinar is right around the corner and, like the first, will feature an industry expert to share insights on what server manufactures are doing to prepare their equipment to exploit the benefits of full immersion cooling solutions like ours.  In this case, Alain Wilmouth, the CEO of 2CSRI will join Submer’s CEO, Daniel Pope, on March 5th.  Your readers can register here.

5. What’s your take on the immersion cooling vs air cooling and how do you see the market demand?

Well, there is a great deal to discuss about the differences between air and liquid cooling systems and why organizations are motivated to consider making a change.  If I had to distill it down to a couple of points, I’d highlight five key things:

  • Efficiency: Liquid is more than 1,000 times more efficient than air at transferring heat.
  • Proven: Liquid cooling solutions have been perfected, deployed around the world and are reliable.
  • Cost Effective: Liquid cooling solutions are less expensive to build and operate than air-based systems.
  • Workforce Safety: Liquid cooling solutions significantly improve the workplace environment compared to air-based systems.
  • Green: Liquid cooling solutions conserve much more of our planet’s critical resources than air-based systems.

In terms of demand, there is no question that it’s been building rapidly in the last few years and becoming more ubiquitous across all IT segments.  We are seeing broad interest across private and public industries, geographies and workload capacities.

6. Why immersion cooling for HPC, hyperscalers and datacenters is important for the greener future of data centers?

As a whole, datacenters currently consume 6% of the electricity generated worldwide and its projected to be as high as 20% in a few years; and within the datacenter, hyperscalers and HPC are by far the largest class of users.  And, despite a great deal of progress in the last decade, most electricity is still produced from non-renewable sources.

So, the datacenter industry as a whole can have the greatest impact on its carbon profile by targeting the largest users first; however, the benefits of liquid immersion cooling on the environment is applicable to users of all sizes.

7. What are the building blocks for the NextGen Data Center? Please comment in light of Submer’s cutting-edge cleantech solution.

The next generation of datacenters will be orders of magnitude more efficient.  All of the critical resources in play within a datacenter (land, electricity, water, money) become better utilized by switching to a liquid immersion cooling solution.  Denser computing deployments mean we can do more with less.  I also expect datacenter operation to become more automated through the use of robotic technologies; which is another area Submer is developing.

8. You have held various leadership roles so far. What factors drive/can drive growth in technology sales organizations amidst the dynamic technology landscape?

In many ways, as dynamic as the high-tech industry is; the key to sales success has really stayed the same in my opinion.  Listen, be responsive and create value for your customer.  It’s easier said than done, of course, but leading with these three ingredients has never failed to produce a high-performing, feared and revered sales team for me.  It helps to have a great product too!

Also read: CERN to use Submer’s SmartPod solution for datacenter cooling and high-density computing

9. So, in your leadership, what new developments can we look forward to at Submer?

Considering that 50% of the global datacenter capacity is centered in the US along with most of the hyperscalers, I expect we will quickly ramp up our profile and organization here to meet the burgeoning demand.  It will surely be a team effort, but, personally, I hope to be central to building a truly great organization that is, in fact, revered in our market and a highly sought-after place to work.  Perhaps, if I’m lucky, I can one day claim a legitimate contribution to making the world a better place for all its inhabitants.

10. Besides work, what are you passionate about?

At work, I put a lot of emphasis on work-life balance with the people I can influence.  I also practice what I preach.  So, for me, being present and involved in the lives of my family and friends is at the top of the list.  More specifically, I try to be outdoors and active whenever possible.  If I’m not thinking about cooling the datacenter, you’ll find me mountain biking, golfing or zipping across the wake on an old-school slalom ski.

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