Facebook kicked off its Open Compute Summit in Santa Clara on Wednesday with a few new interesting developments around its open source initiative, including an unexpected collaboration between AMD and Intel coming to fruition.
According to a blog post by Frank Frankovsky, Facebook vice president of hardware design and founding board member of the Open Compute Project, AMD and Intel are demonstrating new boards developed with financial services companies Fidelity Investments and Goldman Sachs – just seven months after developing the prototype – at its third annual conference.
Rich Miller at Data Center Knowledge said the development of AMD Open 3.0 platform marked the first time in at least 15 years the AMD team got on the phone with rival Intel, in order to standardize components of the design.
According to AMD, the AMD Open 3.0 server motherboard is the first time a platform has been rolled out for Open Compute that isn’t targeted at Facebook data centers. AMD Open 3.0 is currently being evaluated at Fidelity Investments and Goldman Sachs data centers, and can be installed on all standard 19-inch rack environments without modification, as well as Open Rack environments, Data Center Knowledge said. For the full technical specs of the design, visit the Data Center Knowledge report.
Financial service customers are a huge target for data center providers and managed hosts, and the fact that Open Compute has enabled hardware makers to create a custom motherboard suited to the specific workloads of financial customers is interesting. Open Compute could become a jumping off point not only for data centers, but web hosts wanting to create custom environments for clients as well. Rackspace has already decided to design and build its own infrastructure using OCP designs as a starting point, Frankovsky said.
Facebook launched the Open Compute project in 2011 to improve data center efficiency and drive hardware prices down, using its experience building and optimizing its Oregon data center as a starting point. Clearly the project has some chops as its ecosystem continues to grow, and hardware giants like AMD build on the open source designs with some big customers. In three years, the Open Compute Project has grown to more than 50 official members and dozens of contributions from a wide variety of technology suppliers and consumers.
“There’s a lot of work left to do here, but it’s never been more important for us to take these steps. As our lives become more connected, and as more devices and applications generate more data, we will face compute and storage challenges that existing technologies cannot handle efficiently,” Frankovsky said. “But we have one big advantage, as we face these challenges: We are doing this work together, in the open, and everyone has a chance to contribute — to help ensure that all the technologies we develop and consume are as scalable as possible, as efficient as possible, and as innovative as possible.”
Talk back: What do you hope to see out of the Open Compute project? What kind of hardware designs would you be interested in seeing open sourced? Let us know in a comment.