When Open Compute Foundation’s COO Cole Crawford gave a presentation at the OpenStack Summit in San Diego six months ago, he asked how many people in the audience had heard of his project. Only three hands went up. Fast forward, six months later, in Portland, he asked the same question and most people raised their hands. Like OpenStack itself, Open Compute is gaining interest.
Founded by Facebook, Intel and Rackspace, the Open Compute Project aims “to build one of the most efficient computing infrastructures at the lowest possible cost.”
Crawford says both Open Compute and OpenStack are built on answers to the question “What if?” For OpenStack, that led to this week’s Summit with almost 3,000 attendees. For Open Compute, that led to innovations such as widening standard 19-inch racks to 21 inches to include more hard drives and blade architecture.
The result is what Crawford calls a “platform for rapid innovation.” Hardware has gone from design to completed circuit boards in six months. Companies in Japan are investigating hanging racks from the ceilings of data centers as a better way to guard against earthquake damage. A new cabling technology called silicon photonics will move data at up to 100 gigabits per second (Gbps), which is much faster than current technology and speedy enough to effectively connect equipment even if it’s not physically located close together.
Crawford says the project’s journey is only 2.5 percent complete. As one of the biggest fans of the project, we can’t wait for the remaining 97.5 percent.