Monthly Archives: March 2015
The Facebook-led Open Compute Project is growing into a potential force to shape data centers and the networking industry. The OCP’s mission is developing open source designs for networking, servers, storage, hardware management, power supply, chassis and more. The OCP has been an interesting sideshow since its founding almost exactly four years ago, based on work Facebook did developing its Prineville, Ore., data center. For that facility, Facebook built its own custom-designed servers, power supplies, server racks and battery backup systems. Facebook’s goal was to increase energy efficiency and reduce cost.
The Open Compute Project, which seeks to create an open source server and switch ecosystem, is still an unproven concept to many enterprise IT managers. But it’s clear after the Open Compute Summit 2015 last week in San Jose that more of the financial industry has been adopting Open Compute than previously indicated. The Bank of America told The Wall Street Journal the day before the conference opened that it wants to convert its data center infrastructure into one like Facebook’s and that of other Web-based giants. Facebook launched the Open Compute Project in 2011 by making its designs for data center servers open source, so that any manufacturer could use them to build products.
Since 2011, the Open Compute Project (OCP) has been building and proposing specifications to enable new classes of servers and data center gear. Cole Crawford has been a key figure in OCP, serving as the group’s Chief Operating Officer from 2012 to 2013 and as an executive director from 2013 to this month. Crawford is now taking his OCP experience and funneling it into a startup called Vapor. Vapor has a new data center server system called the Vapor Chamber, which in some respects resembles the look of the new Apple Mac Pro.
As one of the dominant companies in software, Microsoft is finding itself working with a bunch of new hardware partners, such as ASIC supplier Broadcom and switch-maker Accton, as it surges ahead with contributions to the Open Compute Project. The Open Compute Project aims to spur development of open-source hardware using open designs that any hardware maker can use to build data center gear such as servers and switches. Initiated by major data center users such as Facebook and Wall Street banks, Open Compute has drawn involvement from some of the largest tech vendors, including most recently Cisco.
Open Compute Summit : When Facebook started down the path of creating the Open Compute Project (OCP), part of its reasoning was that too many vendors hide the underlying silicon from the world of users. That part of the project seems to be having its desired effect, with Broadcom using the OCP Summit to announce that it’s going to give developers API access to its silicon under Facebook’s FBOSS operating system and Microsoft’s Switch Abstraction Interface (the latter also shown off at the summit for the first time).
The Open Compute Project got a big boost of momentum this week, as Apple, Cisco, and Juniper Networks joined as surprising new members, and as HP launched a new line of servers using the open source hardware approach. Add to that an Intel chip specially designed for commodity servers, and some new switching gear, and you can see growing support for Open Compute as it convened its annual summit in San Jose Monday.
The Penguin Tundra cluster platform, based on Open Compute Project rack level infrastructure, delivers the highest density and lowest total cost of ownership for high performance technical computing clusters. Large-scale HPC deployments will benefit from Tundra, which is designed to accommodate future exascale HPC components such as coprocessors and fabrics. Being an active member of the Open Compute Project community is a natural step for Penguin Computing as an early Linux pioneer that understands the benefits of community driven solutions.
Open Compute Summit : HP has made its bid for relevance in the modern data center with a new line of servers aimed at “rack scale” and “cloud scale” deployments. The HP Cloudline servers, unveiled at the Open Compute Project Summit in San Jose, California this week, are the fruit of a collaboration between HP and Chinese manufacturing giant Foxconn that was announced last year.
Bank of America is taking a cue from Facebook‘s infrastructure playbook with a transition to Open Compute and software-defined technologies, the Wall Street Journal reported. The company is shifting most of its workloads to a software-defined data center setup. This is a perfect example of the widespread change and reform occurring within enterprise IT. The company moved the majority of backend systems to the cloud a few years ago and wants 80 percent of systems running in software-defined data centers within three years.
Today Mellanox and RANOVUS, today announced that the OpenOptics MSA is contributing the developed wavelength specifications to the Open Compute Project (OCP). The new specification enables data to be streamed at terabits per second over a single fiber. This contribution is part of Mellanox’s mission to drive a faster pace of innovation that focuses on energy efficiency and bandwidth scalability in data center technologies.
Last week, Facebook’s extraordinary three-year-old Open Compute Project passed yet another milestone: it spawned its first commercial startup led by one of the people who helped birth the organization. And the startup, named Coolan, is following very closely in OCP’s game-changing footsteps. Coolan was founded by Amir Michael, the former leader of Facebook’s hardware design team who worked with Jay Park to build Facebook’s Prineville data center, one of the greenest data centers ever designed. (And much of it was designed on a napkin, too … read on.)