Facebook’s Open Compute Project seeks to open source data center hardware design and evolve a common set of standards for scale-computing applications. Open-source concepts are popular with the software industry, but why not open up the design aspects of the data center computing hardware, the same way? Opening up will enable customers to have a say in the kind of design they prefer/want, it will enable engineers around the world to contribute their ideas to create more efficient/effective models and it will enable different manufacturers to use the design and manufacture inter-operable hardware components, based on standards.
The data center industry seems to be moving in the proprietary mode, with a single vendor or a few vendors in consortium wanting to exclusively provide solutions to customers. This might be fine in the short-term and may even offer a few advantages like easy installation and integrated solutions. But proprietary systems are not the best model for the long-term as efficiency (power, computing, etc) goes for a toss and customers find it difficult to deal effectively with monopolies.
The open compute project has published designs for many data center components including open rack, open storage system, motherboard/compute devices, power supply, battery cabinets, etc.
More than a dozen vendors have joined as members of the project. Some of them have decided to make hardware components according to the open-compute specifications and some of them have decided to certify their software to work on open-compute compliant hardware. There is a OCP solutions provider program that enables resellers/system-integrators to provide an open-compute based solution to the end customers. Well, a lot more action is happening in the Open Compute Project – Read it from here.
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