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Gyrocom Blog

Steve McGarry

Is the Open Compute project set to change the landscape of the Data Centre?

by Steve McGarry

on Jan 16, 2014 10:00:00 AM

With businesses looking to increase efficiency and reduce costs, Open Source projects are becoming a focal point to achieve realistic business objectives.

The Openstack initiative (http://www.openstack.org/) is a series of interrelated projects that provide an open source cloud computing solution to facilitate IaaS (Infrastructure As A Service). More than 200 companies, including some of the major players such as IBM, Dell and Redhat have joined the project recognizing the potential benefits. Openstack was originally conceived in unison between ‘NASA’ and ‘Rackspace hosting’ back in 2010 to provide a modular software defined framework designed to operate on x86 based commodity hardware, managed through a web-based dashboard.

In a similar manner that Openstack offers an alternative to traditional compute architectures, the Open Compute Project (OCP http://www.opencompute.org/) re-evaluates the type and usage of hardware found in datacenters, focusing on efficiency and reducing costs. The founders of the project ‘Facebook’, decided to start from the ground up by designing their own servers, racks, power supplies; removing anything that didn’t contribute to efficiency. This resulted in a 38% reduction in energy consumption and a 24% reduction in cost. Read more about Facebook’s journey here: http://www.facebook.com/notes/facebook-­‐engineering/building-­‐efficient-­‐data-­‐ centers-­‐with-­‐the-­‐open-­‐compute-­‐project/10150144039563920

The Taiwanese manufacturer Quanta have been designing and building hardware solutions for the industry since 1988; historically building systems for the mainstream players such as HP, IBM and Dell. However in recent years their business model has changed such that they are now providing more and more systems ‘Direct’ to the market as opposed to being rebadged by third parties.

Quanta have been providing OCP compliant hardware direct to Facebook to facilitate their data center transformation. Following on from the OCP initiative, Quanta have a range of products that comply with the OCP specification; these products have now been ‘Channelized’ i.e. more user friendly. This range of products was introduced to the US in 2012 and is being introduced to Europe as of mid October ’13.

Some of the key innovations are:

  • Power and management functions are incorporated directly in to their OCP compliant racks; meaning that systems being installed have no local PSU, instead draw power from ‘buzz bars’ mounted in the rack.
  • High-density OCP servers, micro servers and storage offerings available.
  • The modular approach means that infrastructure scales out by simply adding additional storage/compute nodes.

Open source solutions now offer supportable, cost effective business alternatives... watch this space!