Facebook has developed a reputation for changing the way we understand communicating and sharing online. Last spring, the social media giant also changed the way we think about server hardware and the data center industry with the introduction of the Open Compute Project.
The Open Compute Project (OCP) was launched in April 2011 to bring open-source development to the realm of data center servers. The hope was, it would streamline efficiency throughout the industry while simultaneously minimizing costs.
Ultimately, the goal of OCP is to do to hardware what Open Source has done to software — provide open standards. OCP is bringing together a community of engineers worldwide to design more efficient data center hardware with the goal of both individuals and organizations becoming able to share their intellectual property through the structure of OCP.
So, what are we seeing one year into the project and as the third Open Compute Summit commences in San Antonio?
On the Open Compute website, one of the thought leaders involved with OPC, Frank Frankovsky, posted his observations on the one-year anniversary of the project, saying:
“We’re seeing many indications that the open hardware concept is working. Our peers and technology suppliers are thinking differently about how to innovate in the scale compute space. Some are building open hardware based on OCP designs. Others are procuring and deploying OCP hardware. Resellers are beginning to build businesses around open hardware.”
Rackspace has been a partner in the efforts of OCP since its launch, and there are three primary areas where Open Compute can enhance the workspace: collaboration, efficiency, and innovation. That’s the goal of the project as a whole: collaborate with other peers in the industry to improve the technology of Open Compute.
According to Rackspace principal engineer Joel Wineland, skeptics see OCP as a project doomed, if not to fail, then to kill off real innovation. But Wineland sees it just from the opposite point of view, believing it is a way for the real innovators to standout.
Eventually, as OCP becomes more accepted and used, we will see innovations in the computer industry once not thought possible. The project is evolving into a collaborative effort among experts all over the world; it’s all open-source, making for a much quicker impression-on and by the market as a whole.
By Sue Poremba
Sue Poremba is a freelance writer focusing primarily on security and technology issues and occasionally blogs for Rackspace Hosting.