OCP at IPF18: the past, present, and future of Open Computing

The day OCP Foundation CTO Bill Carter crossed the ocean to deliver a keynote at the 2018 Inspur Partner Conference (IPF) in Beijing was the seventh anniversary of the Open Compute Project (OCP). Conceived in 2012, OCP was initially concentrated in the North American market, and gradually expanded to Europe and Asia in the last few years. It is projected that the biggest growth in the next five years will be in Asia, particularly China.

The initial founding members of OCP were the US-based Facebook, Rackspace, Intel, Arista, and Goldman Sachs, with Google and Microsoft later down the line. With expansion into Asia, Chinese companies began to join the roster: Alibaba Group, Inspur, JD, Lenovo and Tencent are among the foundation’s current Platinum members, some of whom have contributed major data center innovations. Ali brought to the committee its extensive experience in data center liquid cooling technology research and development, and Tencent its expertise in data center operation and maintenance management, which is very valuable for companies in other countries. With a wealth of product development capabilities, Inspur provides pre-verification of technical standards development and testing for CSPs, significantly reducing unnecessary technical costs and boosting the growth of OCP’s entire hardware ecosystem.

At present, OCP is actively building on prior collaboration with China’s ODCC, started as Baidu-Ali-Tencent’s own open rack project, seeking more potential partnership opportunities on common technical foundations like rack design, energy consumption, liquid cooling, etc, with hopes to roll out more core technology projects in the future.

According to Bill Carter, “Our core goal is to shape these common designs, common manufacturing standards, and to create the ability to “reuse” and bring the best technology to market in the fastest time. This will provide CSP with more cost-effective open source hardware and contribute to the arrival of a smarter era.”

Down the line, Inspur’s collaborative attempts with OCP will include opening up more design capabilities, such as GPU design, storage design, data center support design and design of the underlying components of the data center operation and maintenance system, to allow enterprise users like banks and CSPs to build their own systems with open source hardware.

Hu Leizhen, VP of Inspur Group adds: “The diversity and inclusiveness of open computing organizations such as OCP are of great significance to the future development of open source hardware. Therefore, Inspur hopes to contribute more experience and IP in this process. Designed for the organization, this not only meets the long-term strategic goal of Inspur based on an open platform to build a common ecological environment, but also an important cornerstone for our joint JDM model and CSP joint research and development and production.”

Global adoption of open computing is trending upwards, especially figuring in China’s rapid development; the application scenarios and scale of China’s data centers are second to none in the world. Advocacy for open computing similarly continues to climb, represented by emerging and increasingly powerful organizations like ODCC, OCP and Open19. With the rise of artificial intelligence-driven heterogeneous computing, cloud data centers have evolved from efficiency to intelligence, and the digital transformation of the industry has driven the surge in the number of intelligent terminal connections. These backgrounds have broken the development model of traditional data centers in the past. It’s clear: open computing is here to stay, not only to reshaping the future of cloud servers, but also ushering in a new wave of global data centers.

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