Facebook-Led Open Compute Project Takes Aim at Networks
The OCP's switch initiative, like SDN efforts, wants to create ways of making networks fit better in virtualized, energy-efficient data centers.The Facebook-led consortium that has made inroads in creating more efficient servers, storage appliances and motherboards is now turning its attention to data center networks. Members of the Open Compute Project (OCP), which just celebrated its two-year anniversary, are seeing what others have when looking at the increasingly virtualized data center: that networking continues to be the bottleneck in an otherwise more dynamic, scalable and flexible environment. That reality is what has given birth to the burgeoning software-defined networking (SDN) and network-function virtualization (NFV) pushes, and it is now fueling the OCP's newest efforts. According to Frank Frankovsky, vice president of hardware design and supply chain for Facebook and president and chairman of the OCP, the project has grown significantly over the past two years, not only in the work it's doing but in the number of official members (more than 50) and participants (thousands). "This is amazing progress in such a short span," Frankovsky wrote in a May 8 blog post on the OCP Website. "But something's missing. We are working together, in the open, to design and build smarter, more scalable, more efficient data center technologies—but we're still connecting them to the outside world using black-box switches that haven't been designed for deployment at scale and don't allow consumers to modify or replace the software that runs on them."
He also talked about the OCP's network switch plans during a keynote speech at the Interop 2013 show in Las Vegas on May 8.