A revolution in IT infrastructure with the Open Compute Project

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A revolution in IT infrastructure with the Open Compute Project

Facebook OCP data centre

As software application demands continue to grow and more pressure is put on an organisation’s IT infrastructure, companies from all sectors are looking to find the most cost-effective solution to keep them running efficiently, handle the vast amounts of data they are creating, while allowing them to scale and grow. Some will have never even heard of the Open Compute Project (OCP), let alone considered it as an option. Yet it could be the answer to all their prayers.

Back in 2009, a fast-growing social media platform known as Facebook, realised that it needed to come up with an infrastructure solution that would support an unprecedented influx of new users and data, and fast, because a period of intense growth was on the cards. But this solution also needed to take energy consumption into account and keep costs down. Facebook decided that the only way they could achieve this was to take control over every part of the system in a data centre.

It might sound an impossible dream, but this was the early foundation for the Open Compute Project (OCP), after a team of Facebook engineers threw out the rule book and spent two years designing and building a system from the ground up; consisting of software, servers, switches, racks, power supplies and cooling. The end result, which stands in Prineville, Oregon, cost 24% less to build, and 38% less expensive to run than Facebook’s previous infrastructure. However, it didn’t stop there. In 2011, Facebook shared its designs with the public and along with partners Intel, Rackspace and Goldman Sachs, the OCP was officially launched, and the Open Compute Project Foundation incorporated.

Its aim was to create the same kind of creativity and collaboration that is seen in open source software, but in the hardware space, to help companies that need to hyperscale their business, do so in a more affordable manner.

The OCP movement is growing each year, with more manufacturers realising the value and benefits of sharing hardware innovation on an open platform, which in turn is creating real affordable alternatives for their customers and technology partners.

OCP can scale up or down according to individual company requirements and is a new and innovative way of manufacturing IT gear, employing fewer materials, making them cheaper to buy and more energy efficient in their use. With OCP Open Racks, they have been designed to make equipment maintenance easier, by using tool-less designs and can fit more compute capability into each rack, but using the same footprint as a normal rack, through some clever changes to how each one is mounted.

As more and more companies move to the cloud they are looking for solutions that will not only save them money, keep them secure and keep them at the top of their game, but they also need solutions that will scale with them. OCP as a concept is designed to do all these things.

To learn more, download our latest ‘Scaling New Heights’ whitepaper that explores the OCP revolution and why it is a very real alternative to traditional data centre infrastructure strategy, please click here.

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