Open Compute Test Lab Head Sees Big Future for Facility
Collaboration is a key part of any open-source movement, including the OCP. That includes collaboration between usually competing tech vendors and between end users. It's a culture these businesses need to embrace as new computing paradigms—from the cloud and virtualization to big data and mobility—place new demands on both vendors and end users. For example, collaboration among businesses could result in significant cost savings when it comes to IT, Rad said. He spoke about the idea of "community clouds" among companies in the same fields, from financial services to health care. Businesses like Facebook and Google, because of their massive size and the huge amounts of IT they buy, can influence the supply chain and the prices they charge, making it more cost-effective for them to build their own systems rather than buying off-the-shelf servers. Individually, end users—even those like the largest financial services firms—don't have that kind of economies of scale. However, should they join together as a single entity when buying IT, they could carry the same weight as those larger Web companies, which could mean lower costs from suppliers, he said. "They're not Facebook, not alone," Rad said. "But five of them coming together, they could present a problem as big as Facebook presents to the supply chain."UTSA, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Notre Dame are working on a demonstration of a community cloud, Rad said. The certification lab will be a key feature May 7-8, when the university hosts the OCP's first Open BigCloud Symposium. Discussion at the event will focus on big data, cloud computing, Open Compute hardware, OpenStack software and software-defined networking. In addition, it will give the lab the opportunity to talk about its growth and its future. Rad said he will announce that in the six months since the lab started taking shape, the cloud infrastructure has grown rapidly to 6,600 compute cores. In addition, in similar fashion to how the lab has signed on with the OCP to work with the open-source hardware, Rad also will talk about the work the organization is doing with the CloudStack organization and its open cloud orchestration and management software.
For many industries, about 80 percent of what's in a business's data center is relatively the same as that in their competitors' facilities. Agreeing on that 80 percent could make a significant difference in influencing pricing. They can work together on that 80 percent, then compete on the 20 percent that is unique to each company.