Target joins Open Compute Project, aims to expand edge computing use cases

Target CIO Mike McNamara announced the company's move to join OCP during its infrastructure and cloud conference.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

Retailing giant Target is joining the Open Compute Project with the aim of contributing to edge compute designs.

The Open Compute Project (OCP) is best known for its hardware designs for hyperscale data centers, but edge computing could represent some open field for the project.

Target CIO Mike McNamara, speaking at the company's ICONN infra cloud conference, said his company is the first major retailer to OCP. Target has also adopted OCP standards for hardware architecture and deployed OCP certified hardware across its data centers, distribution center and stores.

McNamara said in his keynote that Target is open source on the hardware and software sides of its stack. Target has a distributed footprint and can influence new OCP use cases for networking and edge computing.

"What we can uniquely contribute to OCP is running edge compute," said McNamara. "We've got 2,000 stores and each is a mini data center. That's a different environment than a data center. What we can contribute is how you can develop compute that's for the edge instead of the data center."

McNamara said edge hardware designs will need to be resilient and reliable. "In store, if you lose a blade it's a third of the capacity. The needs and requirements are different. We hope to benefit from all the work and contribute to edge in the future."

Target has thrived during the COVID-19 pandemic and quickly pivoted to digital commerce quickly due to savvy acquisitions in 2017 and a multi-cloud architecture and agile development model that enabled it to scale. 

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