Open Compute Project to Telecom Industry: We Need You

Carl Weinschenk
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Evolving Enterprise Tech: What Does 2016 Hold?

The Open Compute Project (OCP), which aims to design commodity hardware that is flexible, efficient and scalable, is holding its U.S. summit this week in San Jose.

The idea is that a great percentage of equipment used by IT and telecommunications companies performs the same tasks in much the same way. Standardizing this gear will drive cost savings and efficiencies that will cascade throughout the world’s massive and growing network infrastructure.

At the summit, Jason Taylor, the OCP Foundation chairman and president and the vice president of Infrastructure for Facebook, said that the success of the OCP concept depends upon its acceptance by the telecommunications industry. His keynote comments were reported upon by RCR Wireless:


“The acceptance of OCP from the telecommunications industry is a particularly important sign of momentum for the community. This is another industry where infrastructure is core to the business. Hopefully we’ll end up with a far more efficient infrastructure.”

In February, OCP created the Telecom Infra Project, which is aimed at pushing the concept both among telecommunications companies and the OCP member companies that would create the products.

Facebook created the OCP project in 2011. Jon Brodkin says at Ars Technica that Google, which builds its own equipment, has now joined OCP, and the OCP site shows the company as a platinum-level member. Google’s first contribution is a rack design:

Machine learning is one area that's requiring higher-power workloads, Google noted. Google has been using its 48V infrastructure "at scale for several years," and the company said it's now comfortable enough with the design and reliability to share it with the world. The company said it hopes to help others "adopt this next generation power architecture, and realize the same power efficiency and cost benefits as Google."

Microsoft is also at the OCP Summit. WinBeta reports that the company is proposing its Open Networking in the Cloud (SONiC) software:

Microsoft’s belief in SONiC is based on the idea that a fully open sourced switch platform could be serviceable by sharing the same software stack across various hardware from multiple switch vendors. However, more than a simple proposal, SONiC is already receiving contributions from companies such as Arista, Broadcom, Dell, and Mellanox.

Reconfiguring how IT and telecom companies acquire equipment is a complex and long-term endeavor. OCP appears to be taking that long road, and is getting buy-in from companies that can help make it happen.

Carl Weinschenk covers telecom for IT Business Edge. He writes about wireless technology, disaster recovery/business continuity, cellular services, the Internet of Things, machine-to-machine communications and other emerging technologies and platforms. He also covers net neutrality and related regulatory issues. Weinschenk has written about the phone companies, cable operators and related companies for decades and is senior editor of Broadband Technology Report. He can be reached at cweinsch@optonline.net and via twitter at @DailyMusicBrk.



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