Facebook celebrates one year of Open Compute Project growth

Over the last year, Facebook's Open Compute Project (OCP) has seen dozens of companies join, new projects proposed, and overall many are thinking about the industry in completely new ways.
Written by Emil Protalinski, Contributor

Facebook today revealed some major developments it has seen since it first open sourced a set of server and data center designs under the Open Compute Project (OCP) in April 2011. The social networking giant says it is seeing tremendous progress as the OCP inspires both consumers and suppliers to think differently about the industry.

In recent months, Facebook says it has seen new choices emerge for consumers of scale computing technology, with the rise of new solutions providers like Hyve, ZT Systems, Avnet, and Quanta's new OCT business unit. The company is also seeing a convergence of voices around where the industry would benefit from standardization and where the opportunities for innovation are. Facebook gave examples: Open Rack and Project Scorpio for the consumer voices, and the new Open Rack designs debuting today from HP and Dell for supplier response.

As for overall progress, Facebook listed the following major developments in the last six months:

  • Dozens of new companies have joined as official members of the project, including HP, AMD, Fidelity, Quanta, Tencent, Salesforce.com, 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 (codenamed Knox) and highly efficient motherboard designs aimed at the specific needs of financial services companies from AMD and Intel (codenamed Roadrunner and Decathlete, respectively).
  • Facebook has started 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. The two specs are slated to be merged in 2013.
  • HP and Dell have announced new, clean-sheet server and storage designs (codenamed 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 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.
  • Facebook 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.

"Perhaps most importantly, though, is the industry's decreasing focus on what OCP founding board member Andy Bechtolsheim calls 'gratuitous differentiation' and its increasing focus on driving innovation where it matters," a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement. "This is the work we have ahead of us in the coming months, as we pursue even greater advances and efficiencies in scale computing technology. It is no small task that we've set for ourselves – but as the last year has proven, we can accomplish anything if we work together in the open."

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