Major Developments in Year One

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2012-06-10 Print this article Print

Frankovsky laid out some of the major developments OCP has seen in the first year:  

  • Dozens of new companies have joined as official members of the project, including HP, AMD, Fidelity, Quanta, Tencent,, VMware, Canonical, DDN, Vantage, ZT Systems, Avnet, Alibaba, Supermicro, and Cloudscaling. HP, Quanta and Tencent have taken the additional step of joining the OCP Incubation Committee, which reviews proposed projects to determine whether they should receive official OCP support.
  • 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).
  • OCP has begun mapping out a convergence between Open Rack, the OCP's specification for an open-standard server rack design, and Project Scorpio, a similar spec under development by Tencent and Baidu. We expect to merge the two specs in 2013.
  • 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.
  • VMware has announced that it will certify its vSphere virtualization platform to run on OCP gear, and DDN has announced that it will do the same with its Web Object Scaler (WOS) storage system. Canonical has also announced that they will offer "zero-day" certification on OCP servers, meaning that they will work with the OCP to certify new designs before those designs are released.
OCP has launched an official OCP Solutions Provider program to help enable new opportunities for companies to sell and consume technology based on Open Compute Project designs. Companies currently pursuing Solutions Provider status include Hyve, ZT Systems and Avnet, as well as new business units from Quanta and Wistron (called QCT and Wiwynn, respectively) that have been launched to sell directly to consumers.

The move to what is essentially open-source hardware design is a significant departure from strategies of other companies, such as Google, Twitter and Amazon, which closely guard their data center and hardware specifications to maintain a competitive edge in the cutthroat cloud-computing market.

"We think it's time to demystify the biggest capital expense of an online business€”the infrastructure," Jonathan Heiliger, vice president of technical operations at Facebook, said at the time of OCP's launch.

Facebook broke ground on its first dedicated data center in Prineville, Ore., in January 2010. The data center employs an evaporative cooling system to cool the incoming air, as opposed to traditional chiller systems that require more energy-intensive equipment. With the assistance of chip makers AMD and Intel and server providers HP and Dell, Facebook engineers have spent tens of millions of dollars building custom servers and power supplies in the past year.

Major Energy Efficiencies

These data center solutions delivered a 38 percent increase in energy efficiency at 24 percent lower cost, compared with Facebook's existing facilities, Heiliger said.

Moreover, this technology enabled the data center to earn an initial power usage effectiveness (PUE) ratio of 1.07, pushing it well below the Environmental Protection Agency's standard mark of 1.5.

The Green Grid's PUE is an indicator of data center energy efficiency, and Facebook's Prineville plant ranks as good as it gets for a major data center.

James Hamilton, vice president and distinguished engineer at Amazon Web Services, toured Facebook's Prineville data center last year and came away impressed by what he saw.

"I saw an unusually large number of elegant designs ranging from one of the cleanest mechanical systems I've come across, three phase 480VAC directly to the rack, a low-voltage, direct current, distributed uninterruptable power supply system, all the way through to custom server designs," Hamilton wrote in his blog.

Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz

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