Google is joining the Open Compute Project (OCP), the community-driven open project founded by Facebook for standardizing on IT infrastructure. OCP’s mission statement is to
“break open the black box of proprietary IT infrastructure to achieve greater choice, customization, and cost savings”
Google strategically announced joining the OCP at last week’s OCP Summit, together with its first contribution of a new energy-efficient rack specification that includes 48V power distribution. According to Google, their new rack design was at least 30% more energy efficient and more cost effective in supporting their higher-performance systems.
The OCP includes, in addition to Facebook and Google, other big names such as Intel, Goldman Sachs, Microsoft and Deutsche Telecom. The member list also includes some traditional server and networking manufacturers such as Ericsson, Cisco, HP and Lenovo, which are expected to be seriously disrupted by the new open standards initiative which undermines their domination over this $140B industry.
Last year Google already made an important move, sharing its next-generation data center network architecture. On their announcement last week, Google hinted for additional upcoming contributions to OCP such as better disk solutions for cloud based applications. In his post, John Zipfel shared Google’s longer-term vision for OCP:
And we think that we can work with OCP to go even further, looking up the software stack to standardize server and networking management systems.
Google and Facebook are among the “big guys” running massive data centers and infrastructure, which sheer scale drove them to drop the commodity IT infrastructure and start developing their own in-house optimized infrastructure to reduce costs and improve performance.
Amazon is another such big guy, especially with the massive infrastructure required to power its Amazon Web Services which has the lion’s share of the public cloud market, followed by Microsoft and Google (both latter are OCP members). In an interview last week, Amazon’s CTO Werner Vogels said:
“To be able to operate at scale like we do it makes sense to start designing your own server infrastructure as well as your network. There is great advantages in [doing so].”
With the growing popularity of cloud computing, many of the “smaller guys” (even enterprises and banks) will migrate their IT to some cloud hosting service to save them from buying and managing their own infrastructure, which in turn will mean even more of the world’s IT will be with the “big guys”. To aggravate things further, the public cloud market is undergoing consolidation, with big names such as HP, Verizon and Dell dropping the race, which would leave most of the world’s IT in the hands of a few top-tier cloud vendors and Facebook-scale giants. These truly “big guys” will not settle for anything short of the best for their IT.
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Update: At GCP Next conference the following week Google released a 360° virtual tour at its data center. See more here.