Microsoft to release version 2 of its Open Compute Project server design

Microsoft's Project Olympus is its updated datacenter server design that the company will contribute as open source to the Open Compute Project.

Microsoft is readying version 2.0 of its Open CloudServer datacenter server design for contribution to the Open Compute Project (OCP).

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Credit: Microsoft

That design, codenamed "Project Olympus," is "our next generation hyperscale cloud hardware design," said company officials in an October 31 blog post.

"We're taking a very different approach by contributing our next generation cloud hardware designs when they are approx. 50% complete - much earlier in the cycle than any previous OCP project. By sharing designs that are actively in development, Project Olympus will allow the community to contribute to the ecosystem by downloading, modifying, and forking the hardware design just like open source software," explained Kushagra Vaid, general manager of Azure Hardware Infrastructure, in that post.

Microsoft joined the Open Compute Project (OCP) in 2014, and is a founding member of and contributor to the organization's Switch Abstraction Interface (SAI) project.

The OCP publishes open hardware designs intended to be used to build datacenters relatively cheaply. The OCP has already released specifications for motherboards, chipsets, cabling, and common sockets, connectors, and open networking and switches.

When Microsoft joined OCP, company officials said Microsoft would be contributing to the project its Microsoft cloud server specification -- a 12U shared server chassis capable of housing 24 1U servers -- as well as releasing its Chassis Manager under the open-source Apache license. Microsoft has made other OCP contributions for datacenter switches and cloud-networking components.

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Credit: Microsoft

Project Olympus will include a new universal motherboard, high-availability power supply, 1U/2U server chassis, high-density storage expansion, a new universal rack power distribution unit and a standards compliant rack-management card, officials said. These building blocks can be used independently and modularly.

Microsoft already released the mechanical and power server chassis interfaces and the universal motherboard and PDU specs on the OCP GitHub branch. "In the coming weeks," Microsoft plans to open source the entire rack system, officials said.

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