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Saturday April 19th 2014

Facebook’s Open Compute Project Gains Big Partners





As Facebook has grown so rapidly over the past several years, it has also had to deal with issues pertaining to massively scalable computing architectures. Last year, we covered the news of the company’s Open Compute Project, an attempt to get tech industry titans to share strategies and designs for massively scalable computing architectures. It’s effectively an open source project designed around community contributions of very advanced data center-centric technologies. You can get information and videos about it here, under the rubric "Hacking Conventional Computing Structure."

Now, a number of heavy-hitting tech companies are supporting the Open Compute Project, and it looks like this community-driven effort may drive significant innovation at the high end of computing.

As GigaOM has noted:

"The biggest deal about Facebook’s Open Compute project isn’t the project, it’s the wave of innovation this can bring forward at the systems level — which will affect everyone from the chipmakers to the giant systems vendors and data center operators."

 So it’s good news that the Open Compute Project is getting big backers. As InfoWorld notes:

"[Facebook] provided details about implementations of the open hardware designs and also announced new members of the Open Compute Project, including Hewlett-Packard, Advanced Micro Devices, Fidelity, Quanta, Tencent, Salesforce.com, VMware, Canonical, and Supermicro. HP and Dell have contributed new server and storage designs that fit into OCP’s Open Rack specification, which covers hardware, such as motherboards and power components, that goes inside a server chassis."

While there is now enough momentum behind this project to drive new, high-end approaches to data center technologies, some of the innovation we’ll see will surround strategies for power management and eco-friendly architectures in high end computing. 

In a new blog post, Frank Frankovsky discusses the news:

"HP and Dell have announced new, clean-sheet server and storage designs (code-named ‘Project Coyote’ and ‘Zeus,’ respectively) that will be compatible with OCP’s Open Rack specification…Exciting new projects have been proposed to the Incubation Committee, including a Facebook design for a vanity-free storage server (code-named ‘Knox’) and highly efficient motherboard designs aimed at the specific needs of financial services companies from AMD and Intel (code-named ‘Roadrunner’ and ‘Decathlete,’ respectively)."

One year into its existence, the Open Compute Project looks like it has substantial momentum. What impact might this project have on high-end computing and data centers in ten year’s time?

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