What Is The Open Compute Project?


In the 1990s Linux took the world by a storm. The open-source software, especially in the operating system world, became popular and then spread to other areas of software. Today, almost all of the major supercomputers run on Linux OS and it is also the most reliable OS for the modern cloud infrastructure. But from time-to-time, one could hear grumblings that this wonderful open-source software used to run on proprietary hardware and these were not really complimentary.

Enter the Open Compute Project, a.k.a, OCP. Open Compute is the ambitious project brining the open way of innovation to datacentre hardware. One can also think about OCP as a project that helps companies to put together data centers in a DIY style, almost. OCP came out of Facebook as they designed their own data centers to serve their customers and open-sourced the designs around 2011. The first five members of OCP were Facebook, Intel, Rackspace, Goldman Sachs, and Andy Bechtolsheim. From that time, the data center designs have been evolving while seeing participation from the most reputed hardware companies in the world. 

Open Compute Project

The reason OCP exists is that the compute requirements of our planet will only grow. The OCP is now a growing community around the world whose main purpose is to design scalable computing infrastructure and make it open for anyone to use and innovate. OCP also works hard to enable the mainstream delivery of these designs so scalable computing is truly democratized.

The OCP community regularly shares ideas, specifications, and IPs to maximize innovation in the datacentre hardware space. If you are wondering what parts of datacentre hardware do OCP concern itself, the answer is almost everything. Right from hardware management, rack, networking to security and storage, each and every sub-project in OCP adheres to the core tenets of OCP. The core tenets of OCP are:

  1. Efficiency 
  2. Scalability
  3. Openness
  4. Impact

The impact of an open hardware ecosystem is for everyone to see. This year, nearly one-third of all datacentre servers manufactured will be OCP design servers used by various data centers. OCP is also tackling the problem of adoption. Datacentre businesses, among others, need to move their infrastructure to OCP and they have excellent reasons. Various surveys have also shown that OCP adoption is gaining pace.

According to IHS Markit Survey, organizations choose Open Compute Project because it reduces a lot of costs and also offers a higher power efficiency when you compare it to a proprietary hardware solution. There are many other things to be liked about OCP, for instance, feature flexibility and a growing community that the market will value and discover soon.

OCP and India – The Larger Picture 

John Laban, the European representative for Open Compute Project Foundation, sees humongous potential in the field of an open hardware revolution. He also thinks we will also get to see a large impact in India. India’s cloud market is set to reach a valuation of $7 billion by 2022 and Indian companies are paying great bucks for Infrastructure-As-A-Service. Laban says, “OCP breaks the chains that large multinational proprietary vendors currently have over India with their lock-in.”

OCP can help India in the near future to adopt cutting edge cloud technology at a much lower cost. Adopting OCP can lead to a reduction in data center facility capital expenditure by 75% and the operating expenditure by at least 50%. India is on a crucial journey when it desperately needs affordable, scalable and clean computation to make the next digital leap. OCP just might be the answer.

This article is the first in our new series of articles on the OCP project. You can bookmark this link to stay updated on the same.

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