Chris J Powell

OpenCompute and the Future of the Cloud Data Center

The reality is, IT Departments are being push, pulled and in some cases dragged to the promised land of Cloud Computing.  Whether this is good, bad or indifferent it is a simple reality and a matter of economy of scale that has brought us to this position.  I took a look at the future, and it was interesting to see Facebook at the center of an interesting project call OpenCompute!

It is incredibly interesting to see just how indepth this project is and how much Facebook is willing to share with others on this grand scheme to add efficiency and reduce the cost of a modern Data Center.  If we look to how this could impact a fledgling Cloud Service Provider the anticipated savings of 24% on the $3000 per square foot cost is pretty dramatic.

When I looked closer at the OpenCompute project itself it is broken down into several sub sections that get even more interesting:

  • Virtual IO – by tailoring the hardware to the Virtual Environment that is built it dramatically increases the efficiency (according to Virtual IO Charter)
  • Open Vault (Storage) – When most companies are looking at complex and increasingly expensive Storage Arrays, the OpenCompute Project takes a wildly different approach.  I find it interesting that with the specifications listed more organizations are not jumping on this emerging standard.
  • Hardware Management – All this new Hardware and interconnects needs a new way to be managed…amazingly enough…that is covered too!
  • Open Rack – For most people, looking at a Server Rack is well just that, a utility but when I dove into the specs and design of the Open Rack system to bring the power of a Data Center together…well lets just say a minor Geekgasm occurred!
  • Battery Cabinet – The project even looks at the inclusion of an Open Backup Power solution…complete with specs.

The real question is, why are more companies not exploring a different way of building the future?  Is it that the Hardware Vendors have us so contained to a single way of thinking that there is no other way of doing things?  After seeing the depths of this project I wanted to take a deeper look into the world of OpenHardware and was surprised to find that while OpenSource Software is alive and well…not so for the world of Hardware…although there are a few smaller projects running out there:

Well that is it for me…time to head over to to put the final touches on the updates and release.


Chris J Powell

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